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McGuinty Proposes 2% Ontario Rich Surtax to Survive Vote

Ontario’s minority Liberal government is set to survive a budget vote after Premier Dalton McGuinty said he will introduce a 2 percent tax on people with incomes greater than C$500,000 ($503,700), meeting a key demand from the New Democrat Party.

“The NDP want a tax on the rich,” McGuinty told reporters today in Toronto after meeting NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “We want to reduce the deficit.”

Horwath said the NDP did not “intend to defeat” the budget in a vote in the provincial legislature tomorrow. “We’ve done the heavy lifting for Ontario,” Horwath said in Toronto, adding she would prefer to work in the legislature instead of triggering an election.

The government of Canada’s most populous province was elected in October with a minority of seats and needs some opposition support to win the budget vote and stay in power.

The surtax would generate C$470 million next year, McGuinty said, all of which would go to reduce the province’s deficit, which is slated to drop to C$15.2 billion in the year that began April 1 from C$15.3 billion last year.

McGuinty said his government will also raise Ontario Works payments, which helps people in temporary financial need, by 1 percent. It will pay for this out of savings generated by reducing generic drug costs. The government will also create a C$20 million transition fund for northern and rural hospitals to help them achieve efficiencies.

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan introduced a fiscal plan March 27 that freezes public-sector wages and scraps corporate tax cuts to balance its budget by 2017-18.

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