Wynne says province can invest in transit while trimming deficit
TORONTO – Kathleen Wynne admits her government will have to find savings somewhere in government but at the same time, she said, it’s still possible to make investments.
The premier told Global News during a sit-down interview that Deb Matthews is currently doing a program review of the Ontario government. Wynne said the government will release the details of that review in the next budget.
Wynne went on to say the government didn’t have money to give raises to public sector employees. Despite that, she said the government needs to spend money on infrastructure.
“We have to make investments, we have to invest in transit, we have to invest in roads and bridges, we have to invest in education and skills of our constituents who are all of the people of Ontario,” Wynne said.
Wynne’s Liberals campaigned on building transit in the Greater Toronto Area and around Ontario during the June election, which brought them another majority government. The Liberals promised to spend $29 billion on transit generated by the existing HOV toll lanes and gas tax, as well as increased revenue from hiked taxes on aviation fuel and tobacco.
The 2014 budget, reintroduced after the Liberals won this year’s election, lays out the party’s plan to get back to a small surplus by 2017-2018.
At the time the budget was released, the provincial deficit stood at $11.5 billion.
But opposition parties say they Liberals will have to cut services or raise taxes to meet that goal.
The NDP suggested in a written statement that the Liberals may be prepping an “austerity budget.”
“After 10 years of putting politics ahead of deadlines, it’s hard to take the Liberal promises seriously,” NDP MPP Catherine Fife said in a statement.
PC finance critic Vic Fedeli said in a telephone interview Friday he doubted the Liberals will hit their deficit targets, pointing to a recent downgrade in the province’s credit rating.
“Certainly the auditor general doesn’t see them meeting their goals to balance the budget in 2017-18. Neither do the bond ratings agencies,” he said. “Fitch downgraded the province today knowing they’re not on track to balance the budget.”