The Ontario Provincial budget (2015) appeared last week to little fanfare, even though it looks to me like an austerity budget ( the media has dubbed it a Tory budget) and a long-term austerity plan, trying to balance the ever-mercurial Ontario Budget (i.e. Ontario’s economy has been up and down like a dory in 20-foot swells).
If you use public transit (as you should (but I don’t)) there is money there for new programs (in Toronto) but not much for other areas. I suppose they could have cut Ottawa’s Light Rail money. Still, there doesn’t seem to be money for the inevitable “expansion” of the light rail program here (but then again, is Ottawa actually in Ontario? Lots of folks in Toronto don’t seem to think so).
The major selling point of this budget is the attempt to balance Ontario’s Provincial Spending:
The deficit for 2014–15 is now projected to be $10.9 billion — a $1.6 billion improvement compared to the 2014 Budget forecast. Together with prudent fiscal management and actions to find smarter and better ways to deliver programs and vital public services that people rely on, Ontario remains committed to eliminating the deficit by 2017–18.
That is a very aggressive goal, and they are going to try to do it on the back of their major allies, the Provincial Public Service and Teachers’ Unions, and that is where they may end up with some problems (given the strikes already being called by the teachers). Could be some very unsettled labor issues for the next little while (given the assumption is no pay increases until the budget is balanced (effectively)).
Lots of other fixes that don’t cost much on Social Spending areas, but not a lot, given the simple plans the government has for its future. Some more help for post-secondary education grants (not a bad idea to slow down the creation of a Generation of Debtors, whose major lender is the government).