Ontario pre-election budget promises new spending, multiyear deficits

Ontario pre-election budget promises new spending, multiyear deficits

Starting in the fall of 2020, licensed child care would be free for preschoolers.

The new plan will cost over $1 billion over three years, starting in 2019-2020.

HEALTH CARE: The health-care sector is getting a major boost, with a promised $2.1 billion going to mental health services over four years and $822 million earmarked for hospital funding. Now the program is optional and child-care providers must opt-in.

People earning $95,000 or more, whose personal income taxes will rise by about $200 as a result of tax bracket changes and the elimination of surtaxes.

In Ontario, kids are eligible for junior kindergarten in the calendar year they turn four, and senior kindergarten the year they turn five.

The province is spending big on health care, with roughly $19 billion earmarked over the next decade for hospital construction and renovation.

"The Wynne Liberals are on a re-election spending spree, and the only way they will be able to pay for it is by taking more money out of Ontario families' pockets", said Ontario PC Finance Critic Vic Fedeli.

The province is also expanding its OHIP+ program, which now serves those under 25, to make prescription drugs free for people over age 65 and over at a cost of about $1 billion over three years. Let me remind you of the 300 per cent increase in your electricity bills, the endless increases in licensing fees of every nature, and who can forget the health tax?

Continuing a plan announced in last year's budget, the price of a carton of smokes will go up by $4 per carton.

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Horwath said the Liberal government leaves too many people behind, falling short of her goals of universal pharmacare and dental coverage. The Ontario Drug Benefit annual deductible and copay will be eliminated - saving the average Ontario senior $240 annually.

Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring said, for him, there were "no surprises or disappointments" in the 2018 provincial budget.

The Liberals' decision to run a deficit reverses a key promise to stay in the black this year.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says the choice in the spring election will be between care provided by her Liberals, or cuts that would come from the Tories led by Doug Ford.

"Ontario's businesses are doing their part to create a fairer society, and the best way to ensure that continues is to consult with businesses and reduce their cumulative burden", said Rossi.

As seniors are the fastest-growing age group in Burlington, McMahon said the province is investing to improve quality of care and life for them.

For businesses, the budget promises $900 million over 10 years to expand the Jobs and Prosperity Fund (JPF). A Throne Speech is traditionally used to signal a new beginning, and it is clear that Wynne and the Liberals would like you to believe that they can start all over again. The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), which plays a critical role in Northern development and job creation, will see a budget increase of $50 million - increasing to $150 million per year in 2020/21.

The Liberal budget also includes a notable increase in money for public transit infrastructure, allotting $79 billion to various projects - up from $55 billion in the 2017 budget.

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