Tim Hudak’s Million Jobs Plan has gotten plenty of attention, mostly because it’s a big number and no one really believes that it’s going to happen. Today, Hudak lifted the veil and explained the numbers behind his lofty goal.
In the meantime, 63% of surveyed Ontarians don’t think he’ll create the million jobs and are wary of his plans to fire 100,000 public sector workers. Yet, the Million Jobs Plan was first developed by the Ontario Progressive-Conservatives in October 2012, and has since been developed in over 15 white papers. Oddly, Hudak’s plan has a wide enough window that it may just be crazy enough to work, they’re planning to create the jobs over 8 years. His daughter will be a teenager by then!
The jobs plan has an eight year window, which means 125,000 jobs per year, which sounds a bit more plausible. Then, the plan takes Ontario’s growth in the past decade as a baseline, which would mean Ontario’s economy will grow by 523,000 over the next eight years assuming Hudak does nothing (which many think is a plausible assumption). Hudak thus proposes to incentivize the creation of 477,000 jobs by 2022, which means 59,625 jobs per year. This figure is…reasonable. Actually?
Hudak has two economic analyses to back up how the jobs will come about. One was from the Conference Board of Canada, so it obviously got very little attention. The other one that came from an economist at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has been the subject of Liberal scorn due to alleged bankrolling by ‘tea party billionaires Koch Brothers Satan,’ who in 2011 did in fact donate 7% of the AEI’s annual budget.
Partisan concerns aside, here’s the breakdown of the 477,000 jobs plan:
- There is currently a vacancy in the trades jobs larger than the number of people working for minimum wage. By abolishing the College of Trades and eliminating restrictions on the skilled trades, Hudak projects a gain of 170,240 jobs.
- Hudak hopes to lure more businesses to Ontario by reducing the corporate tax rate to 8 per cent, down from the current 11.5 per cent, while at the same time eliminating corporate welfare, which notoriously only benefits a small number of large corporations. He projects 119,808 new jobs here.
- He also plans to put the province in charge of all rail-based transit and major highways in the Greater Toronto Area, and establish a new east-west express line connecting Etobicoke to Scarborough, through Toronto’s downtown. With all that infrastructure he expects 96,000 jobs, and to reduce gridlock. No, not in the legislature. Just in the city. A much more reasonable goal.
- Next up, cutting regulations on business, such as so-called “eco-fees” for recycling, which are automatically added to purchased tires and electronics, driving up prices. Companies would have more money to expand and hire more lovely Ontarians. The projected gain? 84,800.
- He also hopes to reduce personal income tax by 10 per cent after the budget is balanced in 2016-17, to spur more consumer spending, leading to 47,080 new jobs.
- His notorious plan to cut 100,000 public sector jobs is meant to create equivalent private sector positions. Otherwise he’d be cutting jobs, which is totally the opposite of what the plan calls for. This will create 43,184 new private sector jobs, though we think on this point he might be cheating.
- “After decades of Liberal energy scandal blah blah” Hudak wants to end subsidies for wind and solar power and reduce the number of provincial electricity agencies, spurring more development in Ontario’s other energy sectors, netting 40,384 jobs. He also plans to develop the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario, gaining 4,400 more.
- Lastly, he’ll end inter-provincial tariffs between BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan, which will lead to the remaining 1,592 jobs required to help him cross the 500,000 mark.
This plan is ambitious, and optimistic, but also strangely reasonable. We’ve made fun of Hudak’s jobs plan before, but this looks like it may actually have functioning math. We’ll see what Wynne and Horwath have to offer in response as the campaign continues on. In the meantime, Hudak does still sound like Dr. Evil every time he says “One MILLION jobs plan!”