Ontario budget to be tabled April 27

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TORONTO – Ontario’s first balanced budget since the recession is set to be delivered April 27 and will include increased health funding, innovation investments, a new tax credit for seniors and measures to cool the housing market in the Greater Toronto Area.

There will be no new taxes on families, Finance Minister Charles Sousa said.

“Eliminating the deficit allows us to redouble our efforts to make lives a little more affordable,” he said Thursday in a speech to the Empire Club of Canada.

Sousa didn’t reveal how his budget will tackle housing affordability, but said he’s concerned about speculators “playing the market” and therefore limiting supply.

“They’re crowding out families who are trying to put down roots,” he said.

Sousa is set to meet with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Toronto Mayor John Tory on Tuesday to discuss housing in the region.

The budget will include a public transit tax credit for seniors 65 years and older. That would come after the federal government recently announced it was eliminating a 15-per-cent tax credit for commuters who buy a transit pass because it wasn’t encouraging ridership as hoped.

Sousa said he hopes Ontario’s tax credit will encourage more seniors to use transit, but gave only anecdotal evidence when asked why he thought that would work.

“We’re just trying to provide some more affordability measures, make life a little bit easier for seniors,” he said. The credit “will make it more affordable for (seniors) to go to the gym, the library, or to take their grandkids to a concert.”

Sousa highlighted in his speech investments the government has made in the innovation sector, saying more of that can be expected in the budget.

“We must embrace new, potentially disruptive technologies,” he said.

He also signalled that more health spending is coming, saying that sector will get “a major booster shot.”

Even though Ontario’s Liberal government has managed to knock down a deficit that was at one point more than $20 billion, the province’s debt continues to grow.

It has swelled to more than $300 billion and in last year’s budget interest on that debt was more than $11 billion and was growing twice as quickly as any program spending area.

When asked if he has a plan to start paying down the debt, Sousa said, “we’re addressing debt always.”

“We will continue to look at ways to manage our debt-to-GDP (ratio) in a way that starts to taper it down even further,” he said.

Ontario’s net-debt-to-GDP ratio is about 40 per cent.

The Progressive Conservatives have accused the government of artificially balancing the budget, through the use of one-time money from asset sales and the use of a reserve fund.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Get ready for more “smoke & mirrors “folks. By the time wynne & justin are done, the middle class will be non existent and most of us will have to wait to see how much our government sponsored “basic income” check will be. You know- the welfare check, only doubled in size.
    Don’t be taken for fools folks; we will be better off once these 2 cartoon characters are gone. Seriously !!!

  2. Are we talking about the seniors in Toronto who bought their 4bedroom homes for $125,000 which are now worth $2.5 Million? Those are the seniors who are getting discounted transit passes? Really? What about the seniors in the Sault who bought their homes for $125,000 which are now worth $250,000? What a southern Ontario senior vote-buying crock.

  3. The idea of a “balanced” budget is misleading. It will make Ontarians think we are debt free.We still have billions of dollars in debt my friends.Watch for truckloads of money falling from the sky as the Liberals gear up for the next election. DO NOT BE FOOLED.

    • There’s a difference between “deficit” and “debt” that is imperative to note for your argument to hold up. A balanced budget means there is no deficit which means that expenses are not greater than revenues. The debt is an accumulation of government deficits over time. A balanced budget stabilizes the debt. The debt’s gone up every year since 1990 so deficits accumulating more debt is status quo for Ontario regardless of what anyone tries to tell you.

      Right now, the debt is about $315 billion (according to the National Post) which is up about $50 billion under Wynne so complaints are fair if we think things are worse off than when he term started. For comparison, Bob Rae ran up the debt by about $55 billion, Harris by $42 billion (while cutting services) and McGuinty by about $135 billion (through the Great Recession). Wynne’s debt increases aren’t bad in comparison but it’s all the other factors (hydro prices, the Ontario Pension Plan idea, privatizing Hydro One, growing government and therefore government spending on itself) that make me hesitant to consider a Liberal vote in Ontario going forward.

      Honestly, though, why am I always explaining things?

      • No one asked you to explain. You just can’t help yourself. All questions on here, so far are only rhetorical and not directed at you in particular. Just sit back and watch the show and keep your opinion to yourself if it bothers you that much, or are you just stirring the pot, afraid to post who you really are by hiding behind a name that, as I see it, makes me laugh showing you are not Silent or in the Majority?

      • I did not ask you to go out if your way to respond in any manner. Things posted on here are…to me…opinions and expressions only. In any event…call it what you like…..I just think the Liberals are being unfair and not too honest when they paint a rosy picture for Ontario. WE ARE BROKE.

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