Duncan hints at good news for taxpayers
Finance Minister Dwight Duncan will introduce a balanced budget in late March with no tax increases, even though revenues may be down because of a slowing economy.
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The Liberals’ first budget since being re-elected Oct. 10 will likely be introduced the week of March 17.
That means Ontarians could learn the province’s fiscal plan on March 20 — as budgets are traditionally delivered on a Thursday. That date also falls before the end of the 2007-08 fiscal year on March 31.
"Right now, I would say, yes, we’re going to project a balanced budget," Duncan told reporters yesterday.
While Duncan emphasized he could not discuss any specific measures in the spending document, he hinted at some good news for taxpayers.
"I’m not going to talk about tax hikes or tax cuts right now, it wouldn’t be appropriate. ... We’ve said there will be no tax increases," he said.
"We will not be increasing taxes."
Last week, Ontario’s third-quarter results projected "a $750-million reserve to protect against unexpected and adverse changes in the province’s revenue and expense outlook including those resulting from changes in Ontario’s economic performance."
"Should this reserve not be required, it is projected that the province would achieve a surplus of $750 million," the fiscal update concluded.
Duncan, who recently concluded provincewide pre-budget hearings, said while "revenues are ahead of where we projected they would be," there’s a juggling act of competing priorities.