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Ontario throne speech lacks deficit plan

Author: Jay Goldberg 2021/10/04

TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is criticizing the Ford government’s throne speech for failing to offer concrete solutions to avoid a looming debt crisis.

“The Ford government claims it can balance the budget through economic growth alone, but experts have said that the government is dead wrong,” said Jay Goldberg, Interim Ontario Director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “If Premier Doug Ford fails to reduce long-term post-pandemic government spending, Ontario risks credit downgrades and never-ending deficits.”

The throne speech makes passing references to the province’s finances, but it doesn’t include a timeline and states the province will not look for ways to save money. The government is completely relying on economic growth to increase revenues.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has said the government of Ontario will be running deficits until at least 2095 without spending restraint.

“There are very clear examples of places to look to reduce spending,” said Goldberg. “Ford could start by saving billions of dollars through ending corporate welfare, eliminating taxpayer-funded political party handouts, and freezing government employee compensation.”

The Ford government is currently spending over $1 billion per month on debt interest, which is greater than the size of the province’s post-secondary education budget.

The province’s debt currently sits at $438 billion, while Ontario remains the most indebted sub-national unit in the entire world.

“If Ontario wants to avoid painful cuts tomorrow, the government needs to make prudent choices today,” said Goldberg. “Ontarians need to see a clear plan to balance the budget, not just wishful thinking.”