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Long-term impact of government deficit concerns readers.

Long-term impact of government deficit concerns readers

All but two of the business people polled last month by Northern Ontario Business expressed concern over the province's $9.7-billion deficit and proposed budget deficits for each of the next four years.

One manufacturing company executive predicted that the deficit increase will hurt corporate profits and discourage investment in the province.

"I'm concerned for our children because the debt load is getting heavier, but I'm sure my father thought the same thing," said Terry Robb of Henderson Metal Fabricating in Sault Ste. Marie.

Gary Boyer, the president of Apex Investigations in Thunder Bay, believes the deficit will result in increased taxes and interest rates, and will discourage investment.

"It (the deficit) will have an extremely negative effect, and Ontario is going to lose out," he said.

John Hollingsworth of Hollingsworth and Associates in Sault Ste. Marie criticized the government for spending beyond its means. He predicted that future tax increases required to pay the debt will hurt the business community's ability to compete.

"They (the province) are definitely getting into a bigger deficit than they need to. With signs that the economy is already starting to recover, the higher taxes are going to send Canadians (businesses) to the U.S.," he insisted.

One Sudbury executive indicated that his firm is already losing off-shore business because potential clients are concerned with the course the provincial government is charting.

"American and Brazilian companies don't want to do business with Ontario," he said.

According to Betty Linder, co-owner of Camp Hiawatha on Birch Island, "the tourism industry in this province is shaky right now, and the deficit is not going to help any."

Most respondents to the Northern Ontario Business poll were equally critical of the province's decision to spend $700 million on public works projects to fight the recession.

"I think it's a step we'll never come back from," said Wesley Allan of the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Company in Thunder Bay.

Boyer of Apex Investigations agreed.

"Don't tell us (the business community) to tighten our belts and then go on a spending spree," he commented.

Peter Blakey of Falconbridge Gold Ltd. in Timmins pointed out that Ontario's spending is contrary to the fiscal strategy adopted by Ottawa and the other provinces.

"Retrenchment is the key," he said.

However, one New Liskeard executive, who declined to be identified, agreed with the province's decision to create jobs with the anti-recession fund.

All of the people polled by Northern Ontario Business advocated spending restraint and several suggested money could be saved by reducing the size of the civil service, cutting some social programs and reducing welfare payments.

"We're taxed to death," said one Sudbury respondent. "They can save money by cutting the stupid red tape involved with doing anything. There are too many government employees, and we're all paying for it."

A Kenora businessman, who declined to be named, suggested that many people in Ontario earn enough money to pay for all or part of their medical expenses.

Meanwhile, Tony Yaroshak of Stainless Steel Technology in Sudbury voiced his opinion that welfare payments are excessive and that in many cases it's too easy to qualify for assistance.

"The welfare system is at a point where no one wants to work," he said. "Businesses help support the system through taxes, and we're competing against it (for employees)."
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Northern Ontario Business's readership poll
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Aug 1, 1991
Words:559
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