Finance Minister in Stratford for pre-budget discussions

Archived Release

Finance Minister in Stratford for pre-budget discussions

Ministry of Finance

STRATFORD, ON, Feb. 27 - Finance Minister Greg Sorbara held his sixth in a series of Finance ministry-led stakeholder discussions in Stratford 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, help build a prosperous economy - and do this while living within our means," said Sorbara. "I have also been reminded of how important it is that economic benefits be spread more evenly across the province and that rural areas, especially, benefit from future economic growth." 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 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); Boni Fox Gray, Ministry of Finance, (416) 212-2155; Karim Bardeesy, Minister's Office, (416) 986-1919