International News: Canada

23 Oct

News for the most computerized country!  Copied from: CBC

Ontario deficit could reach $24.7B: Duncan

Ontario’s deficit is expected to reach $24.7 billion in the current fiscal year, provincial Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced Thursday.

And the province’s economic output is expected to show a decline of 3.5 per cent for 2009, Duncan said in the Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, which he released at Queen’s Park.

Declining corporate tax revenues and increasing demand for public services have dragged down the government’s bottom line, Duncan said.

Corporate tax revenues dropped by an “unprecedented” 48.1 per cent in 2008-09, or by more than $6 billion, the report says.

And the economic downturn forced more people to depend more heavily on public services like social assistance, skills training and health care, Duncan said.

Employment in the province dropped three per cent, or by 205,200 jobs, from 2008, the report says, with jobs in the auto sector down by 25.5 per cent in the first nine months in 2009 compared with the same period in 2008.

The report singles out the struggling auto industry as a unique expense, and a “distinct challenge and opportunity.” Ontario pledged $4 billion in emergency loans in December to support the Canadian subsidiaries of U.S. automakers Chrysler and General Motors.

Other investments in infrastructure, skills training and reshaping the province’s tax system “ensure that we are ready for growth,” Duncan said.

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