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Sheila Block's blog
Sheila Block is Senior Economist at the CCPA Ontario office. Sheila writes on labour markets and public finance. Follow Sheila on Twitter: @Sheila_M_Block.
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In an unusual move, the Ontario government released its 2016-17 budget in February, a month before the federal budget.
Given that the budget contains no real surprises and, for the most part, indicates this government is sticking to the plan it set out last year, it's difficult to see why Ontario wouldn't have waited for its federal partner's budget.
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A fresh breeze is creating a welcome shift in Toronto's tax conversation this week, led by the city's new manager and Mayor John Tory on his one-year anniversary.
City Manager Peter Wallace made his debut presentation on his first city budget on Tuesday and he turned the annual budget conversation on its head by essentially telling city councillors that they had to have an adult conversation about taxes and services.
If Ontario delivered the majority government to the federal Liberals, what should they deliver to Ontario?
The swath of red across Toronto meant the loss of many NDP MPs who spoke out for a strong federal role in rebuilding and modernizing our aging social and physical infrastructure and reducing income inequality.
It's not unreasonable to expect the new and returning Liberal MPs to follow through with the desire for change and good government that got them elected.
This fall, Toronto City Council will be voting on a plan to implement a Poverty Reduction Strategy called TO Prosperity. The plan has a number of innovative measures targeted to reducing working poverty.
Toronto's budget season has begun in earnest, and it's yielding a mix of the predictable "we can't afford things" debate, along with some refreshing surprises.
Refreshing: Mayor John Tory is clearly signaling a desire to break from the recent past with the 2015 budget. His announcement on improvements to the TTC and his focus on the value of service improvements at his budget press conference this morning are a welcome breath of fresh air.
Both revenues and economic growth are slightly lower than expected. But, the government is sticking to its deficit reduction plan; and holding it together with string and masking tape.
It is hoping that an increased focus on collecting taxes that are owed and shifting around reserve funds will do the trick this year. Meeting its timeline to reduce the deficit to zero will rely on program spending growth at less than 1 per cent per year until 2017-18.