Ontario’s latest provincial budget is too timid in projecting the province’s finances over the next three years, according to the auditor general.
While the April 28 budget provides a “reasonable” forecast, it underestimates tax revenues and is overly cautious about contingency funding, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk said in a statement.
The auditor general suggested that corporate tax revenue estimates are understated by between $1.5 billion and $4.2 billion annually for the next three fiscal years.
“Understating revenues can create a perception that the government has less revenues available when deciding on programs and initiatives, or annual deficit reduction,” Lysyk said.
Additionally, the budget includes higher-than-usual contingency funding of $19.4 billion, compared with $7.5 billion in the 2021 budget, which is “overly cautious,” it said.
The auditor general said that over 80% of the $19.4 billion has not been earmarked for specific programs, “which means that over $15 billion could be spent on unplanned items without impacting projected deficits.”