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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Budget 2012: Continuing to Fortify Canada’s Economy

Follow the budget discussion on Twitter with #Bdgt12
See the full budget online at: http://www.budget.gc.ca/home-accueil-eng.html

The federal government has just released Budget 2012: Jobs, Growth, and Long Term Prosperity.  This budget is the next step in the medium-term Economic Action Plan, and it will continue to grow Canada’s jobs and economy while focusing on balancing the budget.

Of course, we can already predict that the Liberals and NDP will vote against this budget. Their high-tax plans which kill jobs while recklessly experimenting are simply not compatible with the Conservatives’ approach: low taxes for Canadians and the best conditions for businesses to create jobs.

When Canadians overwhelmingly voted for a Conservative majority on May 2, 2011, they knew Conservatives had a track record of making promises and keeping them.  In fact, in a previous article, I meticulously researched every campaign promise and found that the government has already implemented or began discussions on implementing 92 percent of their promises.

Canadians know the global economy remains fragile. Canadians know that, although Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has created the best economy in the G7, circumstances can change very quickly.

We must all recognize that government spending must be reduced, and that a balanced budget should be the default type of budget for all governments.  Families every day have to live within their means, and the government should be no different.

The only parties that believe in reckless deficit spending are the NDP and Liberals, who have constantly proposed drastic tax hikes on everything to pay for their opportunistic, short-sighted policies.  As such, Conservatives should consider implementing balanced budget legislation just as Mike Harris did in Ontario. A balanced budget should be required, by law, and in the event the government wishes to enter deficit spending they should submit a referendum to the electorate stating: a) by how much; b) for how long; and c) how the deficit will be paid off.

In fact, the few campaign promises that remain to be implemented hinge on the budget being balanced by 2015. Promises such as the Family Tax Cut, doubling the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, the Adult Fitness Tax Credit, and providing the initial funding for the F35 jet fighters will be implemented only after the budget is balanced in 2015 and the Conservatives return to another majority government.

Just a few of the highlights of the 2012-2013 federal budget include:

·          Most importantly, there are no new taxes or tax increases, unlike the Ontario Liberal government’s budget
·         The CBC’s budget will be cut 10% over 3 years
·         The government expects Canada's GDP will increase 2.1% this year and 2.4% in 2013.
·         In April 2023, OAS and GIS will be eligible to those 67-years-old. This does not affect anyone who is 54 years-old or older as of today.
·         Pennies will not be produced past fall 2012, and they will gradually be phased out.  Debit and credit transactions will still be to the cent.
·         In 2010-2011, Canadians saved $3.1 billion through tax reductions.
·         19,200 government jobs will be reduced over three years, including 600 senior executives and 7,200 through attrition
·         The Canadian Environmental Protection Act will be reviewed to ensure stringent regulations protect the environment.
·         The Board of Internal Economy will adjust the pension plan of parliamentarians, taking effect in the next parliamentary session
·         The Public Service Pension Plan will be adjusted so that public service employee contributions equal, over time, those of the employer (50/50). Comparable changes to the contribution rates will be made to the pension plans for the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Parliamentarians.
·         Starting April 1, 2012 and on a go-forward basis, the prior years of service of former members of the Canadian Forces who join the public service will be recognized for the purpose of calculating vacation entitlements.
·         Since 2006, 380,000 seniors have been removed from the tax rolls as a result of the government’s income tax amendments.
·         Funding for health care will continue to grow from $27 billion in 2011–12 to a minimum of $38 billion by 2018–19.
·         $50 million will give youth training and employment opportunities.
·         $330.8 million will support water quality and water infrastructure on aboriginal reserves.
·         The Hiring Tax Credit for Small Businesses will be extended for an additional year
·         $5.2 billion over 11 years to allow the Coast Guard to renew their fleet

Countries world-wide are faced with the task of balancing their budgets in a time of global economic uncertainty.  The challenge is no different for the federal government here as well as the provincial governments too.  We must all support cost-cutting measures over the next term to ensure our country remains the best in the world.

Follow the budget discussion on Twitter with #Bdgt12
See the full budget online at: http://www.budget.gc.ca/home-accueil-eng.html