TORONTO—Many of the broad strokes of the Ontario Liberals’ 2014 budget have been discussed in public for weeks, but there is little more than broad strokes.
The deficit is expected to rise to $12.5 billion next year from $11.3 billion in 2013-14, before falling to $8.9 billion in 2015-16. The Liberals say they still plan to balance the books by 2017-18.
Revenues are down almost $1.2 billion from the budget projections for 2013-14 to an estimated $115.6 billion, but spending will grow next year by almost $3 billion..
Net debt ballooned to $269.2 billion for the year ending March 31 from $252.1 billion the previous year, leaving a debt-to-GDP ratio of 38.9 per cent, which is expected to grow to 40.3 per cent next year.
Here is a list of details that impact Canada’s industrial and business sectors, and some potential benefactors:
A 10-year, $2.5-billion fund will offer grants to businesses investing in Ontario and creating jobs.
$1 billion to help build a road to the remote Ring of Fire mineral deposit in northern Ontario, but the money is contingent on getting matching funds from the federal government
Construction companies and commuters:
$29 billion over 10 years would be spent for public transit, roads, bridges and infrastructure—$15 billion for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and about $14 billion for the rest of the province.
$11.4 billion over 10 years is earmarked for hospital expansion and redevelopment projects. An additional $700 million would be spent over the next 10 years to help hospitals pay for repairs.
Education and Training:
$11 billion over 10 years to build new elementary and secondary schools in densely populated areas such as Brampton, Milton and Ancaster.
Minimum wage will increase to $11 an hour and be indexed to inflation.
A new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan for people without a workplace pension will require contributions from employers and workers of 1.9 per cent of salary. Someone earning $70.000 a year would pay $1,263 into the pension plan and their employer would match that amount. The new plan would be introduced in 2017.
People with annual taxable income between $150,000 and $220,000 would pay $450 more in provincial income tax as the rate would go up one percentage point to 12.16 per cent. Those earning above $220,000 would pay $5,500 more.
The tax on aviation fuel would go up by four cents per litre over four years, with subsequent one cent per litre increases in each of the next three years. Who do you think covers that?
Public sector workers:
Austerity measures to clamp down on public service retiree benefits and pensions saving hundreds of millions of dollars while bringing them in line with those in the private sector.