No tax hike on middle class to balance the books, Wynne says

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. – Premier Kathleen Wynne said Friday her government will not balance the budget in 2017-18 by raising taxes on middle-class families.

Speaking in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the premier was reacting to a report this week by the Financial Accountability Office that says Ontario is not on track to balance by next year and would have to raise taxes or make cuts to get there.

The budget watchdog projects that Ontario will have a deficit of $2.6 billion in 2017-18 and will deteriorate further to $3.7 billion in 2020-21.

But Wynne insisted the deficit will be eliminated by next fiscal year, and the path to get there will be laid out soon.

“We’ll see as we go into the fall economic statement how we’re going to do that and how we’re going to stay on track, but I’ve been clear that we’re not going to raise taxes on middle class families,” she said.

“We’re not going to do anything that is going to harm people who are just feeling the benefits of some of the recovery.”

The premier said it hasn’t been easy working toward balance, but it is important so that Ontario can reduce its net debt — which the FAO says will be $370 billion in 2020-21 — and its net-debt-to-GDP ratio, which is hovering around 40 per cent.