New Documents Expose Wynne’s Faulty Deficit-Reduction Plan

According to a series of internal government documents authored early last year, the Ontario government will most likely be missing its deficit reduction targets for the next two years, and in order to minimize that by making up for the shortfall, it must either dramatically cut spending or hike revenue. These documents were originally briefing notes written by senior bureaucrats for Premier Kathleen Wynne, however later they were later acquired by a legislative committee and released by the Progressive Conservative opposition on Monday.

These confidential documents state the same reasons that led Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, to announce last fall that the government is prepared to miss deficit reduction targets in the medium-term. According to the notes, if the Liberals choose to reach deficit targets, they will have to make aggressive cuts in program spending of any government in Canada. For instance, it stated that the spending on health care would have to drop by five per cent when population growth and inflation are factored in.

A note from the head of the provincial civil service to Ms. Wynne and her advisers says that “the Ontario plan to balance…is the longest and most likely stringent in Canada.” Furthermore, it added that “no other Canadian jurisdiction, over their anticipated timeframe to balance, projects a decline in real per capita program expense of this magnitude.” According to the notes “for 2014-15 and 2015-16, not on track to meet 2012 budget deficit targets,” and “to make [budget] gap disappear requires aggressive spending restraint and/or revenue tools.”

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