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Ontario budget: Winners and losers

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

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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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/the-canadian-press/130502/ontario-budget-winners-and-losers