Big infrastructure spending in Doug Ford’s pre-election budget, while running deficits

Ontario 2022 budget. Image credit: Twitter handle of Doug Ford

Ottawa/CMEDIA: Ford government reportedly enacting new measures for seniors, low-income workers, and auto commuters in a budget would cause Ontario’s deficit to rise this year to $19.9 billion.

Included in Premier Doug Ford’s election-year budget is a pledge for tax relief for low-income workers, a cut to the gas tax, and betting big on infrastructure, with $10 billion in additional money for hospital construction and redevelopment over the next 10 years, build new hospitals in Brampton and Mississauga, and redevelop other hospitals in Etobicoke and Scarborough, along with a raft of other projects across the province.

Nearly $4 billion more has been allocated for highway construction in the province over the next decade, expected to cost billions on their own and have not yet been put out to tender.

Entirely new is a tax credit aimed at frail seniors who still live at home and receive home care from a nurse or attendant.

The province ran a deficit of $13.5 billion for the fiscal year that just ended, said the Ministry of Finance more than $19 billion below the 2021 outlook.

According to the projections of the Ford government, the deficit will skyrocket to $19.9 billion for 2022/2023 before falling to $12.3 billion in 2023/2024 and $7.6 billion by 2025. 

With a plan to spend about nine percent more this year, than during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the PCs and also run a higher deficit.

In a statement, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner called the PCs platform a “1950s-era Sprawl Budget that is taking us backward and setting Ontario up for an expensive, unhealthy province that will pave over our children’s future.

“We’re in a climate emergency and a cost of living crisis. But Doug Ford wants to pump a staggering $25 billion into more highways and sprawl that will pollute the air, make life even more expensive, pave over the farmland that feeds us and destroy the nature that protects us from flooding,” he continued.

Initially supposed to be table the budget by March 31, the delay is due to more time needed by the officials to fully understand the fiscal consequences of pandemic-related spending.

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