The Progressive Conservatives’ mandate won’t include balanced books.

The Tories peg the current deficit at 11.7 billion, and they don’t expect to eliminate the red ink until 2023 to 24.

The budget, announced Thursday, constrains spending growth, but the $163.4 billion package is still nearly five billion larger than the last budget from the previous Liberal government.

Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece says one of the highlights from the budget is an investment of $315 million for broadband and cellular service in rural and remote areas over the next five years.

“A lot of our agricultural producers depend on broadband to run their businesses, it’s getting more and more important that they can access information on trading their commodities for example.”

Pettapiece also points an increase in funding to schools in the province by $1 billion, adding that he will “will work to ensure our rural schools receive their fair share.”

While the new budget doesn’t promise many huge cuts, critics warn services will be impacted as the government curbs most spending below the rate of inflation