May 02, 2013
By AM740 Staff
Ontario’s minority Liberals introduced a 127.6-billion-dollar budget today that the government says ticks off every item on the N-D-P wish list.
The budget promises motorists an average 15 per cent break on their auto insurance premiums, provides more money for home care services and increases benefits for people on welfare and disability supports.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa says the budget more than meets the N-D-P’s demands, while taking a balanced approach to limiting spending growth and eliminating the deficit.
Sousa says it will grow to 11.7 billion dollars this year from 9.8 billion in 2012-13 — but the province remains on track to rebalance the books in 2017-18.
But N-D-P Leader Andrea Horwath says she’ll consult the public before making a decision on whether to support the budget and help the minority government avoid being defeated.
Horwath says the budget reflects most of the N-D-P’s proposals, but lacks a commitment to deliver.
She says the Liberals have to rebuild trust after wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on cancelled gas plants, eHealth and the Ornge air ambulance service.
The Progressive Conservatives vowed to vote against the budget even before they saw it.
They say the Liberals have lost the moral authority to govern after spending at least 585 million dollars to cancel gas plants to save Liberal seats.
The budget also includes a plan to widen key sections of the 400-series highways in Toronto and Ottawa and highway 11-17 in northern Ontario, add more high-occupancy-vehicle lanes and to let drivers without passengers pay to use the HOV lanes.
The Liberals also promise 35 (b) billion dollars over three years on transit and infrastructure projects, but did not include any of the new so-called revenue tools such as tax hikes or road tolls.