A budget handed down by the Wynne Liberals today indicates the province will run a deficit for the next six years. The 308 page budget was handed down shortly after 4:00 this afternoon, and contains 20.3 billion dollars in new spending, including enhanced child care and senior prescription coverage already announced, and also includes money expected to reduce hydro bills and give transit tax credits. The six year projected deficit goes against a Liberal promise last year to balance the books for the next three years, but this year vow it has a plan to return to balance now by 2025, so long as the Liberals can form a government again.
- A $158.5-billion spending plan with a $6.7 billion deficit and no plan to balance the budget until 2024-25.
- Net debt per capita — which was $14,894 for every man, woman and child in 2009-10 — will be $22,511 in 2018-19.
- A new $500 million a year dental and prescription drug plan worth up to $700 a year in benefits to a family of four that does not already have dental or pharmacare coverage. For individuals it’s $400.
- $2.2 billion to launch free preschool child care for children aged two-and-a-half until junior kindergarten.
- $19 billion over the next decade to build and renovate hospitals plus an extra $822 million in operational spending.
- Up to $750 a year on household maintenance costs — such as snow-shovelling — for seniors age 75 and older to help them remain in their homes. That program will cost $1 billion over three years.
- Expansion of the OHIP+ pharmacare program currently available for everyone age 24 and under to give free prescription medications to those over 65.
- $2.1 billion over four years in new mental health funding.
- $650 million over three years for home care for seniors.
- $1.8 billion to boost services for 47,000 developmentally disabled adults.
- $2.3 billion over three years to reform social assistance programs and provide for a 3 per cent annual increase in rates.
- Making the increase in guaranteed monthly pension benefits to $1,500 retroactive to May 19, 2017 to help former Sears Canada employees.