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Minority Liberals’ budget passes, averts snap election

The minority Liberal government’s budget has passed at Queen’s Park after the party reached a last-minute deal with the NDP that helped avert a snap election.

MPPs voted 52-37 on Tuesday afternoon.

Premier Dalton McGuinty and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath hammered out an agreement at the last minute that will see increased taxes for the richest Ontario residents. Those earning more than $500,000 a year will see a surtax of two per cent.

NDP MPPs abstained from voting on the budget motion. The Progressive Conservatives voted against it.

McGuinty said Monday the NDP surtax would generate $470 million in 2013-14, which would help pay down the province’s $15.2 billion deficit. It would not be used on new spending, McGuinty said.

Once the deficit is eliminated, McGuinty said the surtax would be repealed.

In the NDP deal, McGuinty also agreed to increase welfare rates by one per cent and create a $20-million fund to help rural and northern hospitals.

Tuesday’s vote was delayed by about 15 minutes due to protesters at Queen’s Park. The demonstrators from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), showed up to voice disappointment that welfare rates will only be increased by one percent.