Finance minister in Thunder Bay for pre-budget discussions

Archived Release

Finance minister in Thunder Bay for pre-budget discussions

Ministry of Finance

THUNDER BAY, ON, Feb. 24 - Finance Minister Greg Sorbara held his fourth in a series of Finance ministry-led stakeholder discussions in Thunder Bay today. "We are going across the province to ask community leaders, 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. "In these discussions people have 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 while living within our means," said Sorbara. "I have also been reminded of how important it is to foster a learning society that prepares our young people for the new employment challenges and prospects ahead." 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 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 discussions, 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); Karim Bardeesy, Minister's Office, (416) 986-1919; Dianne Lone, Ministry of Finance (416) 212-1439