Budget deficit might hit $10B

Ontario residents will learn the provincial government’s plans to deal with the battered economy when Finance Minister Dwight Duncan delivers his budget March 26.

Ontario residents will learn the provincial government’s plans to deal with the battered economy when Finance Minister Dwight Duncan delivers his budget March 26.

The budget is expected to include a deficit of as much as $10 billion, as well as investments in infrastructure and the auto sector.

“We will have new initiatives in this budget aimed at dealing with the changes, not only since the last budget, since the last fall statement,” Duncan said Thursday, declining to provide further details.

He also defended the delayed release of the budget, which has angered the opposition parties, who were hoping for an early push on infrastructure and job stimulus to help struggling workers.

“There have been enormous changes since the fall statement,” Duncan said. “There are still a number of the issues that we’ll need to deal with in the coming budget that we’re still getting some numbers on, so I think it’s quite timely and quite appropriate.”

Premier Dalton McGuinty was initially optimistic about how the province will fare in the current economic storm, with the government projecting a $500-million deficit in the budget.

However, McGuinty has since warned Ontario will be in the red for several years, starting with a “significant” deficit in the spring budget — expected to exceed $10 billion.

 
 
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