Analysis | Ontario's Mini-Budget: Are the province's coffers deep?

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Analysis | Ontario's Mini-Budget: Are the province's coffers well stocked?

Finance Minister promises “targeted measures” to help Ontarians deal with inflation in his economic statement.

Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy.

The Ford government presents its Fall Economic Statement on Monday, a kind of mini-budget that should offer a new look at the state of the finances of the province. The Minister of Finance has promised to include concrete measures, including the reduction of the provincial gasoline tax, to relieve the pocketbooks of Ontarians.

We are always looking for ways to support those who need help in the environment we are going through, confides the Minister of Finance in an interview with Radio-Canada.

On Sunday, Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy already announced that the provincial gasoline tax would remain reduced until December 2023. This is one of the targeted measures that will be included in his economic statement.

Doug Ford claims that by reducing gas tax for one year, an average family will save $195 over the year.

Is the minister planning any other surprises in his mini-budget, such as new tax credits or a new round of direct payments offered to families? Peter Bethlenfalvy remains unclear, but admits families and businesses need a little boost as inflation continues to climb.

One ​​thing is certain, the Ford government seems to have significant leeway to intervene financially with Ontarians.

Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy.

In September, the Ford government announced that the $13.5 billion deficit projected in their latest budget for 2021-2022 had shrunk. In fact, it turned into a surprise $2.1 billion surplus. An unexpected improvement, made possible thanks to state revenues which exceeded budget forecasts by 20%.

Is Ontario's Economy Remaining Strong? How are public finances doing as the global economy shows signs of recession? The statement should answer his questions, but Minister Bethlenfalvy is already reassuring.

“We are well positioned no matter what.

— Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario Minister of Finance

In a recent report, the Office of Financial Accountability (FOA) noted the strength of the province's economy. The body that acts as the watchdog of public finances forecasts budgetary surpluses in the province for the foreseeable future.

According to FAO analysis, the Revenue growth, even if it were to slow from its current rate, is expected to outpace expenses through 2027-28.

If surpluses were to continue piling up in provincial coffers, the government might find it harder to play the austerity card with education unions. How can you justify limiting wage increases to about 2% per year if the province is not in a deficit situation?

Ford government and school support workers disagree on salaries, including.< /p>

Talking about fiscal discipline becomes more difficult when the Minister of Finance uses black ink to make his projections.

Will union members have new bargaining leverage? Response later Monday.

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