Finance Minister Charles Sousa unveiled Ontario’s 2015-16 budget Friday. It includes a $50-billion investment in public transit, part of $130 billion dedicated to public infrastructure.
But increased post-secondary education funding is not on the agenda.
The budget also includes much-discussed changes to alcohol distribution and sales of public assets like Hydro One, which will be used to fund the government’s ambitious transit plans.
Taxes remain stagnant except for a $1 levy on the newly expanded beer sales.
“This is a plan that will not only create a better economy but will also help create a more just society while we move ahead with our comprehensive plan to balance the budget by 2017-18,” Sousa said.
“We know for every dollar we invest in infrastructure we get a $1.60 back in economic productivity,” he said.
Interim PC leader Jim Wilson said serious spending cuts are in order if the Liberals want to have the budget balanced by 2018.
“There’s no plan to deal with the debt. It’s just going up and up,” he said, predicting major tax increases in future budgets.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath said the Liberal budget is out of touch with the average Ontarian’s day-to-day needs.
She said the spending increases fall behind the rate of inflation, so they should be seen as cuts.
“This budget cuts education and closes schools, cuts health care and fires nurses,” Horwath told the Toronto Star.