Ontario’s first balanced budget in a decade to see new spending

By on April 27, 2017


Ontario's first balanced budget in a decade is being released this afternoon and is expected to contain new money to benefit seniors, students, parents, caregivers and patients. (Photo: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr)
Ontario’s first balanced budget in a decade is being released this afternoon and is expected to contain new money to benefit seniors, students, parents, caregivers and patients. (Photo: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr)

TORONTO — Ontario’s first balanced budget in a decade is being released this afternoon and is expected to contain new money to benefit seniors, students, parents, caregivers and patients.

The deficit-free fiscal plan gives the province’s Liberal government some room to bring in new spending as it heads into an election year.

In a speech this week, Premier Kathleen Wynne said her plan has fairness at its heart and her approach is not to cut services, taxes and regulations and hope the results will trickle down to Ontarians.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa has already announced the budget will include a public transit tax credit for seniors, and what he calls a “booster shot” for health care.

The government has also already indicated there will be funding to increase respite services for people who act as caregivers to friends and family members, money for child-care spaces, a student job training placement initiative, investments in innovation, and money for affordable housing.

But even with a balanced budget this year, Ontario will still have debt of more than $300 billion.

In 2016-17, interest on debt was the province’s fourth-largest spending area, with $11.4 billion of interest on approximately $317 billion of debt.

The province’s net debt has tripled since the Liberals came to power. In the last budget presented by the Progressive Conservatives before the 2003 election, the debt was about $110 billion. The overall size of the budget, meanwhile, has not quite doubled: from $71 billion in 2003 to $134 billion last year.

In that time, the net-debt-to-GDP ratio has grown from about 27 per cent to about 40 per cent. The Liberal government has said it would like to get that ratio back down to the pre-recession levels of 27 per cent.

  • Ross Ayotte

    Premier Wynne is touring the province as if she is the fairy godmother in damage control.

    Ontario’s provincial debt by 2020 is expected balloon to $370 billion, up from the roughly $138 billion from when the Liberals took office. The taxpayer pays roughly $1 billion a month in interest on this debt; but this forecast was made before Wynne added $1 billion more a year to our provincial debt by rebating us back the eight per cent portion of the HST, which the Liberals added on to our hydro bill to begin with. Then she added another $25 billion to our debt with her failed energy plan, which made hydro so unaffordable.

    Now, Wynne is touring the province as if she is the fairy godmother by handing out billions of dollars in advance of next year’s election.

    The real question is, how many tens of billions of dollars will she spend bribing Ontarians with our own money for the Liberal vote?

    The truth is, Ontario can’t afford more debt, more taxes or fees. We just can’t afford more Liberal scandals and mismanagement and partisan ads.

    The Liberals created the housing crisis in the GTA by implementing the Places to Grow Act in 2006, which is restricting the housing supply by increasing intensification and the density of new housing developments. This act says 40 per cent of all new developments must be within existing urban boundaries.

    It takes — on average — 14 months to get a building permit, and $100,000 in paperwork, fees and taxes. Then the buyer must pay roughly $48,000 in land transfer tax on a single home.

    No need to wonder why costs are out of control.

  • Ross Ayotte

    Premier Wynne is touring the province as if she is the fairy godmother in damage control.

    Ontario’s provincial debt by 2020 is expected balloon to $370 billion, up from the roughly $138 billion from when the Liberals took office. The taxpayer pays roughly $1 billion a month in interest on this debt; but this forecast was made before Wynne added $1 billion more a year to our provincial debt by rebating us back the eight per cent portion of the HST, which the Liberals added on to our hydro bill to begin with. Then she added another $25 billion to our debt with her failed energy plan, which made hydro so unaffordable.

    Now, Wynne is touring the province as if she is the fairy godmother by handing out billions of dollars in advance of next year’s election.

    The real question is, how many tens of billions of dollars will she spend bribing Ontarians with our own money for the Liberal vote?

    The truth is, Ontario can’t afford more debt, more taxes or fees. We just can’t afford more Liberal scandals and mismanagement and partisan ads.

    The Liberals created the housing crisis in the GTA by implementing the Places to Grow Act in 2006, which is restricting the housing supply by increasing intensification and the density of new housing developments. This act says 40 per cent of all new developments must be within existing urban boundaries.

    It takes — on average — 14 months to get a building permit, and $100,000 in paperwork, fees and taxes. Then the buyer must pay roughly $48,000 in land transfer tax on a single home.

    No need to wonder why costs are out of control.