Ontario’s provincial government wants a balanced budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, and Finance Minister Charles Sousa is adamant that Ontario will reach that goal.
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice has warned Albertans that the current fiscal year’s projected surplus has turned into at least a $500 million deficit and that next year’s budget will sink deeper into red-ink territory.
How governments manage their finances matters a great deal. Spend and borrow too much and the result is a spiral of increasing deficits that create ever higher debt. Then, ever-more tax dollars end up spent on debt interest—not on education, health care, administering provincial courts, or other areas in which provincial governments are involved.
This spring’s mail-in plebiscite will essentially ask Metro Vancouver voters if they’re willing to pay $250 million more in sales taxes each year to fund the $7.5 billion expanded transit system proposed by a council of the region’s mayors.
With oil prices plunging and provincial resource revenues expected to drop, Alberta’s red ink will rise. In response, Premier Jim Prentice has floated the notion of a provincial sales tax and/or hikes in other taxes.
There is a prominent view among some in Alberta’s provincial government and elsewhere in the province that believes booms and busts in government finances are a result of the province’s large energy sector.
Something as dull sounding as public-private partnerships (P3s) has suddenly grabbed headlines thanks to a recent report from Ontario’s Auditor General.
There are times when a problem can be solved with a small fix and perhaps a little tinkering. And there are times when a big fix or fundamental reform is needed. Quebec’s government finances fall into the latter category.