FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Nov. 15, 2016
QUEEN’S PARK – Yesterday’s Fall Economic Statement is an attempt by the Wynne government to balance the budget leading up to an election year before returning to deficit spending, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett said.
In his recent report, the province’s Financial Accountability Officer stated the government would not be able to achieve a balanced udget in 2017-18, and predicted a budget deficit of $2.6 billion. The report states, “Ontario’s budget would be expected to remain in deficit over the next five years.”
In order to balance the budget in 2017-18, the Fall Economic Statement indicates the government has reduced its contingency reserve by $600 million and is seeking another $800 million through the one-time sale of government assets. It was also confirmed the province’s net debt is set to rise by over $64 billion by 2020-21 to a record $370 billion and that Ontario will continue to be the largest sub-national borrower on the planet.
“This government continues to play with the numbers, but the province is in dire financial straits,” Barrett said.
Looking at the current fiscal year, the government will meet its target of a $4.3 billion deficit by using $600 million more worth of reserve funds. This is the 8th consecutive budget with a deficit. In addition, the interest on the debt now constitutes the 4th largest expense behind the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
New announcements in statement
- The main announcement from the 2016 Fall Economic Statement was a doubling of the maximum Land Transfer Tax rebate available for first time home buyers. The increased rebate will mean that no Land Transfer Tax will be paid on the first $368,000 of a home purchase, which is up from the previous rate of $227,000.
- The other main spending announcement was that an additional $140 million would be given to Ontario hospitals over and above what was committed in the 2016 budget.
- The Government also announced that $32.4 million of the previously committed $400 million Business Growth Initiative will be allocated to help small and medium businesses grow into larger export firms and essentially “scale-up.”
- Also, $65.5 million will be invested this school year to create 3,400 spaces as part of the five year commitment to create 100,000 child care spaces. This overall cost is expected to be anywhere from $1.75 billion to $3 billion. At this funding rate of $19,264 per space, the 100,000 spaces would cost $1.93 billion.
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or toby.barrett