Government Restrains Program Spending to Fund Unnanounced Tax Cuts and Spending Measures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

TORONTO, December 9, 2019 – Today, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released its Fall 2019 Economic and Budget Outlook report.

Given the FAO’s outlook for the economy and the province’s revenues, and incorporating the government’s spending plans updated in the Fall Economic Statement, the FAO projects Ontario’s budget deficit will increase to $8.5 billion in 2019-20, up from $7.4 billion last year -- marking the third consecutive year of higher deficits at a time of steady economic growth.

Over the next four years, the FAO’s baseline projection suggests a rapid improvement in Ontario’s fiscal position, with an almost balanced budget in 2021-22, and a large $8.7 billion surplus by 2023-24. This dramatic improvement in the budget balance is driven primarily by the government’s plan to significantly limit program spending growth to just 1.4 per cent per year on average.

Notably, the government’s budget plan includes tax cuts and spending programs that have not been publicly disclosed. "If implemented, these unannounced policies would delay the achievement of a balanced budget and result in an additional $13.5 billion in net debt by 2023-24," says Peter Weltman, Ontario’s Financial Accountibility Officer.

Given the government’s expenditure restraint, the FAO estimates that the demand for public services will exceed the government’s planned spending by approximately $5 billion by 2021-22. "This presents a risk that the government’s fiscal plan will not provide sufficient resources to meet future ongoing demand for key public services, particularly in the areas of health and education," says Weltman.

Click here to download the report. Click here for LIVE webcasting of the FAO’s 10:00 a.m. press conference. 

About the FAO 

Under the Financial Accountability Officer Act, 2013, the Officer provides independent analysis on the state of the Province’s finances, trends in the provincial economy and related matters important to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.  Visit our website at www.fao-on.org/en/ and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/InfoFAO. 

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For further information, please contact: 

Jessica Martin l 647 527 2385 l JMartin@fao-on.org l fao-on.org