The COVID-19 pandemic is getting the blame as Finance Minister Rod Phillips announced the Ford government is adding $99.8 billion worth of deficit spending over the next three years to keep the healthcare system operating. The plan also calls for tax cuts for business.
With the GBP down and unemployment up the government will feel the pinch on the revenue side as it has promised not to increase taxes.
“This is a great, great news budget for the people of Ontario, the businesses of Ontario,” Premier Doug Ford said Thursday. “You can sit there and say we are helping everyone, right across the province.”
The Ministry of Finance says growth will rebound by 4.9 per cent next year and 3.5 per cent in 2022, but such projections have ben fraught with imprecision in the past,, when there was less uncertainty.
The 2021/2022 deficit is expected to come in at $33.1 billion, with $2 billion set aside in reserve, while the 2022/2023 deficit is expected to be $28.2 billion.
The government has set aside $2.65 Billion to cover any unforeseen COVID emergencies .
Said Minister Phillips. “it’s important we have those dollars available so that we can adjust – we’re in the middle of a second wave,” he said. “Those dollars will get spent and deployed and will be there to ensure people have the resources they need; the healthcare resources, the educational resources.”
Some highlights include:
- a new tax credit for seniors to renovate their homes,
- more cash for parents of young children,
- tax new cuts for business
- $570 million more to fund hospitals,
- every parent of a child up to the age of 12 will receive$200 payment, similar to what was done in March. The actual date was not provided
The Ministry of Finance says that if growth accelerates in 2021, the amount of new debt added could shrink to as little as $87.5 billion over the next three years.
But if growth slows under the weight of a new widespread lockdown or other unforeseen circumstance during that time, the amount of new debt added could balloon to $107.5 billion.
If you wondered what COVID testing is the average COVID-19 test – both the collection of the specimen and processing – cost Ontario $48 each in the fall.