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Ozdy3P

Ozdy3P

Understanding

Understanding Ontario’s debt burden As bad as California’s fiscal situation is, Ontario’s is relatively worse. As with California, we will outline the fiscal history since the previous recession. As figures 6 and 7 illustrate, Ontario’s fiscal trajectory followed a comparable course to that of California: the deficits in the early 2000s eventually turned to (modest) surpluses, only to be shattered with the onset of what has become known as the Great Recession later in the decade. The recession reduced tax receipts, and led the government to increase spending on both social assistance programs and infrastructure spending (which included the bailouts of the auto sector) (see Kneebone and Gres, 2013). Yet as with California, Ontario also pulled back from the abyss, with deficits moderating in both absolute terms and as a share of the economy after their peak in 2009/10. 14 / fraserinstitute.org

Comparing the Debt Burdens of Ontario and California / 15 Figure 6: Ontario revenues and expenditures (CA$ billions), 2001/02–2011/12 125 30 CA$ billions (nominal) 100 75 50 25 20 10 0 -10 CA$ billions (nominal) 0 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/06 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 -20 Revenues Expenditures [left axis] Surplus (+) or deficit (-) [right axis] Notes: Data refer to Fiscal Year ending March 31 of the listed year. Source: Ontario, Ministry of Finance (2012). 20 Figure 7: Ontario revenues and expenditures as share of the economy, 2001/02–2011/12 6 18 4 As % of GDP 16 14 2 0 As % of GDP 12 -2 10 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/06 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 -4 Revenues Expenditures [left axis] Surplus (+) or deficit (-) [right axis] Note: Data refer to Fiscal Year ending March 31 of the listed year. Sources: Ontario, Ministry of Finance (2012); calculations by authors. fraserinstitute.org

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