Finance Minister in Hamilton for pre-budget discussions

Archived Release

Finance Minister in Hamilton for pre-budget discussions

Ministry of Finance

HAMILTON, ON, Feb. 17 - Finance Minister Greg Sorbara held his second in a series of Finance ministry-led stakeholder consultations in Hamilton today. "We are going across the province to ask stakeholders and experts to tell us how we can best meet our priorities while living within our means," said Finance Minister Greg Sorbara. "And, we want them to help us define exactly what success in meeting those priorities will mean four, five or six years from now." In December 2003, the Minister of Finance released three scenarios for reducing or moderating future spending growth that could eliminate the inherited structural deficit in any of the next three years. To balance the budget in 2004-05, total spending would have to decline by 2.6 per cent from the projected 2003-04 level. To balance by 2005-06, spending growth must be held to a maximum of 1.3 per cent on average for the next two years. Balancing by 2006-07 requires spending growth to be held to an average of 2.3 per cent a year for three years. "Two weeks ago, people in Ottawa told me that the next budget needs to help students succeed, to keep Ontarians healthy, support clean and liveable communities, and help build a prosperous economy - and will do this while living within our means," said Sorbara. "I was also reminded of how important it is to take care of our most vulnerable citizens - our young children, those in our communities struggling with poverty and people living with disabilities. The Ministry of Finance's pre-budget discussions are part of an ongoing dialogue between the McGuinty government and the citizens of Ontario. Additional Finance Pre-Budget Discussions will be held on February 23 in Windsor, February 24 in Thunder Bay, February 25 in Sudbury, February 27 in Stratford and March 3, 4, and 5 in Toronto. The previously announced session in Brampton will be rescheduled. For up-to-date information on Minister Sorbara's pre-budget consultations, please visit the Ministry of Finance Web site at www.gov.on.ca/fin and click on "Hot Topics". Or visit www.townhallontario.gov.on.ca for information on how to contribute your ideas for the 2004 Budget. Disponible en françaisFor further information: Diane Flanagan, Minister's Office, (416) 212-0634, (416) 918-1894 (cell); Boni Fox Gray, Ministry of Finance, (416) 212-2155