TORONTO - Ontario's finance minister is encouraging people to submit ideas for the upcoming budget -- he just won't consider the most popular ideas so far.

The ministry launched its "Budget Talks" website last month as a venue for people who can't attend the in-person, pre-budget consultations that begin today to send in their ideas and vote on the submissions.

The online consultation goes until the end of the month, but so far the most popular ideas are to either merge the public and Catholic school boards or to stop funding the Catholic system entirely, and to stop the province's partial sale of Hydro One.

The Liberal government has staunchly defended the hydro sale as a way to generate money for infrastructure and on Catholic schools, Finance Minister Charles Sousa says "that debate has been had."

Sousa says he is also hearing that people want the government to invest in infrastructure and lessen gridlock.

The highest infrastructure-related idea online so far is the 17th most popular idea, behind four separate Catholic school board-related pitches and two pleas for lower hydro rates.