Ontario Budget 2013: Winners And Losers

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Winners and losers from the budget that was unveiled by Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa. (CP)
Winners and losers from the budget that was unveiled by Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa. (CP)

TORONTO - Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa unveiled the 2013-2014 budget on Thursday. Here's a list of winners and losers:

Winners:

_ Drivers: They can expect auto insurance premiums to drop by 15 per cent, but the government won't say over what period of time.

_ Construction companies: The government will spend $35 billion over the next three years on infrastructure upgrades — nearly $13.5 billion of the funding will be spent this fiscal year.

_ Seniors: The government will spend $185 million more this year to reduce wait times for seniors who need home care. An additional $75 million will be spent on community care. The target is to reduce wait times to five days.

_ Social assistance recipients: The government will spend more than $400 million over three years to allow those on welfare and disability to keep more of their money.

_ Small businesses: Companies with payroll up to $450,000 will get a health tax exemption indexed to inflation. By 2019, the threshold is expected to reach $500,000.

_ Manufacturers: The province will boost tax-based incentives that allow manufacturers to deduct the cost of buying new equipment and machinery. This follows a similar plan announced by Ottawa earlier this year.

_ Southern Ontario commuters: The Liberals plan to spend to improve roads and highways in the Golden Horseshoe, increase the use of high-occupancy lanes, and add capacity to GO Transit, all in an effort to ease gridlock.

Losers:

_ Big businesses: The government will eliminate a health tax exemption for companies with payroll over $5 million. It will also ask Ottawa to delay tax breaks that would allow companies with $10 million or more in sales to claim cost of meals, drinks and entertainment until 2018.

_ Hospitals: They face further funding cuts as the government vows to slow the growth rate of health-care spending to an annual average of two per cent a year.

_ Wealthy retirees: They will have to pay a larger share of their prescription drug costs when income testing starts in August, 2014.

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