On Monday, the re-elected Liberal government introduced their 2014 budget. The same budget was previously introduced earlier this year. In the minority parliament, the Liberal government failed to garner the support of any of the opposition parties necessary to pass the budget and sustain the government. The budget vote plunged the province into the June 12th election that re-elected Premier Wynne with a majority government.
In their platform, the Liberal Party of Ontario pledged to re-introduce the same budget if they were re-elected. The government has recommitted to eliminating the deficit by 2017-18. According to the budget papers, the province’s estimated deficit for 2013-2014 sits at $11.3 billion, and is projecting a deficit of $12.5 billion in 2014-2015, $8.9 billion in 2015-2016, and $5.3 billion in 2016-2017. The budget projects that Ontario will return to a balanced budget by 2017-18.
Budget highlights include:
- A new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan for Ontarians without a workplace pension.
- A new tax rate of 12.16% on income between $150,000 and $222,000, and the threshold for the 13.16% tax rate will be lowered to income above $220,000.
- A $29 billion allocation to infrastructure spending which includes public transit, roads, and bridges.
What does the budget mean for REALTOR® issues?
In terms of municipal revenue, this year’s budget does not commit to giving municipalities the ability to levy a municipal land transfer tax (MLTT). This is great news for stopping the spread of the tax across Ontario. However, Premier Wynne has indicated that Ontario’s new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing will look at new ways for municipalities to raise revenue. OREA’s GR team will continue to monitor developments to ensure the MLTT does not spread to other municipalities.
Unfortunately, this year’s budget does not include changes to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, that would allow Ontario REALTORS® to form personal real estate corporations.
Lastly, the budget outlines the government’s intention to move forward with changes to the Condominium Act, 1998.