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Ontario budget 2024: Government tabling financial plan as term approaches halfway point

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As the Ford government inches closer to the halfway point of its second term and with affordability and housing front of mind for many, the Ontario budget is set to be tabled at Queen’s Park on Tuesday afternoon.

During a pre-budget announcement on Monday about extending the 5.7-cent-a-litre provincial gas tax cut until the end of the year from June 30, Premier Doug Ford and Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said the 2024 Ontario budget is aimed at keeping costs down while growing the provincial economy.

“People are finding it tough right now and we’re going to do everything we can to put more money into people’s pockets,” Ford said.

“It’s going to help us stay the course while creating stronger communities,” Bethlenfalvy added.

Another pre-budget announcement saw a commitment of $1.6 billion for municipal infrastructure needed to support the construction of new homes.

The 2023 budget had the province eyeing a surplus for this upcoming fiscal year, but Bethlenfalvy’s fall economic update pegged the 2024-25 deficit at $5.3 billion and projected a balanced budget the following year. Before Tuesday, he didn’t indicate if his path to balancing Ontario’s finances will remain the same. 

What are the opposition parties calling for?

While speaking with reporters Monday afternoon, Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles said she’s looking for a “meaningful” investment in public health care and education. She also said “bold” actions need to be taken to create “affordable, supportive, attainable” housing while also dealing with climate change.

“We’re going to be looking for … a budget that actually meets the moment that people in this province are in and puts people first,” Stiles said.

Ontario Liberal Party finance critic Stephanie Bowman said her party is focused on three areas.

She said the first area should be affordability, citing examples such as provincial taxes on home heating and OSAP loans. The second was “healthy communities” such as allowing fourplexes as of right now and additional health care investments. Lastly, Bowman called on the government to “drive economic growth beyond just by building highways and EV (electric vehicle) plants” and investing in the “green economy” and gnome projects.

On social media, Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner called for “legalizing missing-middle housing and protecting renters,” creating a climate affordability plan that has energy-saving, financial benefits, and “repairing health care, education and other public services.”

Where to find more information on the Ontario budget?

CityNews will have complete coverage of the 2024 Ontario budget online at citynews.ca, streaming on CityNews 24/7, and on 680 NewsRadio Toronto after it’s tabled in the legislature.

The budget should be tabled just after 4 p.m. EST.

With files from The Canadian Press

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