Premier Doug Ford’s government released their first provincial budget today along with a new license plate and slogan for Ontario citing “A PLACE TO GROW”. The government has offered new tax credits, less regulations, cuts to government programs, and a new transit plan. Here’s some of the main points discussed in Ontario’s 2019 budget.
CARE Tax Credit
The Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit will be introduced in Ontario to provide support for low income families in paying their childcare expenses. Families can receive up to $6000 per child under age 7, up to $3750 per child between the ages of 7 and 16, and up to $8250 for a child with a severe disability. Although the tax credit would primarily help low income households, the credit will also provide relief for households with income up to $150,000. The government is also allocating $1 billion over five years to increasing childcare spaces in Ontario.
Business Tax Credit
The government has offered a tax credit to businesses to allow them to write their capital expenses off immediately. The credit comes as an alternative to their plan to reduce the corporate tax rate. The purpose of this offering is to give companies an incentive to spend money as opposed to keeping profits.
$28.5 million will be allocated to a transit plan for the Greater Toronto Area which will include an increase in subway lines and regional rail transit. The plan includes the “Ontario Line”, which will be the new subway line connecting the Ontario Science Centre to Ontario Place.
The government is also proposing to reduce auto insurance rates by providing flexible options for providing insurance to drivers. The government is planning on implementing these changes over several years so that rates are more entwined with the driver’s history. They are also looking to allow electronic proof of insurance along with a new “Driver Care Card” for receiving benefits from claims. The province is also increasing the maximum benefit which can be claimed from $1 million to $2 million.
Dental Care for Seniors
$90 million will be allocated to assist low income seniors in getting dental care. Seniors with annual income below $19,300 or couples with combined income less than $32,300 will qualify for dental care this summer. This initiative will be implemented to give seniors greater access to dental care. According to the report, seniors were one of the most under represented groups to make regular dental check-ups.
Alcohol and Gambling
The government has also outlined it’s plans to decrease regulation in regards to gambling and alcohol sales. The government is proposing legislation to allow for drinking in parks, tailgating events, and to allow liquor sales in restaurants at 9am, 7 days a week. The government also is looking to allow private companies to participate in online casino style gambling.
The government is also planning on gradually decreasing the deficit and leading up to a surplus by 2024. The approach will involve reducing the amount of debt year by year and increasing the province’s debt to GDP ratio. The Finance Minister has stated that the approach is a “Goldilocks Approach” because the changes have to be just right in their implementation.
Overall, the changes introduced in the budget are of a large scope and are appealing to a large demographic. Seniors to millennials, low-income earners to high-income earners, and all people in between can expect one of these offerings to affect them in one way or another in the upcoming year.