Ontario's Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan, yesterday invented a new fiscal concept: the compulsory deficit. Come hell or high water, no matter how many billions in new revenues roll in, the government of Ontario will not under any circumstances abandon its unwavering commitment to operate in the red. Premier Dalton McGuinty has finally found a promise he can keep.
In a budget that mangled fiscal concepts and invented new ones to suit the McGuinty Liberals' spending agenda -- up 8.8% this year on top of 8.9% last year, a record for a province allegedly suffering from a fiscal imbalance -- Mr. Duncan declared Ontario to be a bedrock of "fiscal prudence." Highlights of the prudence: program spending is now back up to 15.7% of provincial GDP, the highest since 1998, tax revenue is rising and tax cuts nowhere in sight.Read the rest here. Gerry Nicholls notes the creation of a Move Ontario fund in the budget — unintended consequences, as they do, increasing proportionally with increased government intervention, the moniker may prove appropriate as people and investment move out of Ontario. Speaking of unintended consequences, Lawrence Solomon describes a few anticipated results from the Liberals' heroically massive planned-economy investment of tax dollars in transportation:
Read the rest here. Should anyone get the impression that the London Fog is selectively citing only negative commentary on the budget, we present reaction from the city of London as reported in the London Free Press:
A Toronto megalopolis, 150 kilometres in girth, will be born of the Ontario provincial budget announced this week. The budget's big-ticket transportation projects will drive this outcome through measures that will undermine public transit in the city while accelerating suburban sprawl in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.
Oh, well, as long as we're getting some! The Liberal MPPs may have captured the appreciation of their special interest group audiences, but the pitch to the ordinary taxpayer should not be so successful. Whatever the political merits of politically-motivated redistribution schemes to particular political interests, all London and Ontario residents will pay for the unnecessary deficits and high taxes in the budget. $14.3 million for London road and bridges does pique the attention, however, given the current state of those structures, but…
In yesterday's harsh morning light, the Ontario budget looked a lot better to Londoners than it might have when tabled a day earlier.
Despite the soundings of Dave Leckie, London's director of roads, does anyone really believe that a discretionary fund handed to city hall will be spent entirely on such politically drab projects?
That $14 million, which can be spent at the city's discretion