Ten things about the Ontario budget

TheStar.com – News/Queen’s Park – Here are 10 things you need to know about the Ontario budget delivered Thursday afternoon at Queen’s Park.
May 1, 2014.   Star Staff

From new taxes to boosted child benefit cheques, here are 10 things you need to know about Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s budget that was introduced Thursday at Queen’s Park:

1. It’s a $130.4-billion spending plan with a $12.5 billion deficit this year and a vague promise to balance the books by 2017-18.

2. It includes $900 million in new taxes, including a hike in the tax on cigarettes.

3. There is a 10-year $2.5-billion “jobs and prosperity fund” of handouts and incentives for businesses to move to Ontario.

4. It boasts a new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, similar to the Canada Pension Plan, that will force Ontarians to contribute a portion of their paycheques if they don’t have a plan through their employer.

5. There will be $29 billion over 10 years for transportation infrastructure, including public transit — $15 billion for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and $14 billion for the rest of the province.

6. It removes the “ debt retirement charge ” from hydro bills in 2016 to save the average ratepayer $70 a year.

7. The Ontario Child Benefit , which helps low-income families, will be increased from $1,210 a year per child to $1,310.

8. There’s $1 billion to build infrastructure to help mine chromite, a key ingredient of stainless steel, from the massive Ring of Fire mineral deposit in Northern Ontario.

9. $11 billion will be invested in repairing and building elementary and secondary schools over the next decade.

10. Another $11.4 billion will be spent on new and redeveloped hospitals over the next 10 years.

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