National Post, Kelly McParland
Government documents can often make dull reading, couched in the near-impenetrable bureaucratese in which public servants specialize. Thursday’s report by independent budget watchdog Stephen LeClair was a welcome exception – welcome to everyone except Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government, that is.
In simple, blunt terms, LeClair explained that the Liberals’ plan to sell off 60% of Hydro One, the provincial power distributor, will cost far more than it brings in. While it may provide a short-term benefit to the government by helping it balance the budget in time for the next election, the gains will be brief while the costs run on indefinitely.
“In years following the sale of 60 per cent of Hydro One, the province’s budget balance would be worse than it would have been without the sale. The province’s net debt would initially be reduced, but will eventually be higher than it would have been without the sale,” LeClair says.
The annual loss from forgone revenue would range from $300 million to $500 million. The province would get a better deal if it simply borrowed the money rather than selling off an asset to produces a dividend for taxpayers of $750 million a year. Read article