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Sousa downplays Moody's negative outlook

By: The Canadian Press

 | Jul 03, 2014 - 11:31 AM |
TORONTO - Finance Minister Charles Sousa is downplaying a move by Moody's Investors Service to change Ontario's outlook from stable to negative while affirming its Aa2 rating.

Moody's says the change reflects concerns over the province's ability to eliminate its $12.5 billion deficit by 2017-18, and warns revenue growth and better spending controls "will require a considerable shift" in government actions.

Sousa says the Liberals have controlled spending and are looking for more savings in the system, and claims credit rating agencies and the banks that loan the government money aren't worried about its massive debt load.

He says the real issue is that the province's revenues have not met expectations, and insists "the bankers aren't freaking."

Sousa says the Liberals will not cut civil service jobs to balance the budget, which he says can be done on schedule without taking "extreme measures."

Interim PC Leader Jim Wilson predicts the outlook change from Moody's will be followed by a credit downgrade for the province, which he says would cost taxpayers millions of dollars more in interest payments.

Moody's didn't wait for the newly re-elected government to introduce its budget July 14 before changing its outlook to negative, saying the fiscal plan will be the same as the one introduced in May that it called a "credit negative" for Ontario.

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