Thursday, February 24, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: BUDGET 2005--HOORAY FOR EVERYONE!
Ralph Goodale Michael Douglas
Anyway.... I thought I would give my comments on the FIBerals federal budget that was released yesterday.
Three words: Not too shabby.
Any I hate to say that. But its true. And I can say that because I remember FIBeral budgets in the mid-90's where I would say to myself "none of my priority areas were covered". Then it was all about money for social programs, immigration, social programs, HRDC, social programs, etc. Not that those areas aren't important, it jsut didn't have any direct impact on me.
I'm selfish when it comes to federal fiscal policy.
I should say from the start that I would have liked to have seen much more tax relief. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has calculated that the average Canadian will only see his or her taxes go down by about 4 cents a day. That's less than $1.50 a month.
Not exactly a "tax cut". More like a "tax scratch" (made that one up myself).
But generally, I liked the budget. I agree with the increased funding for the military, although I don't forget it was the FIBerals that put them in that sad position on the first place. 5,000 troops and 3,000 reservists is a good start. Now we need to ensure they actually get the right equipment and supplies to be effective. International experts all agree that Canada needs a mobile brigade that can land in hostile territory. With $12.5 billion over 5 years, that objective might actually happen.
Businesses got the elimination of the corporate surtax and some goodies to bribe then into meeting Kyoto targets. Better than a tax hike or a kick in the head, I guess.
And what would a FIBeral budget be without an increase in Health funding? $800 million for wait times, etc. The monster needs to be feed. Why reform the system when you can throw money at it?
I'm in favour of the $5 billion funding for childcare, because the framework could include tax deductions for working families. The Feds are still working on a deal with the provinces, but if its just about a new bureaucracy (Babies Canada, maybe?) for a big nanny-state program, then I'll just take my money, thanks.
I know some Mayors are squaking about the fact that they'll have to wait close to 5 years for the bulk of the $5 billion gas tax, but ramping up to $2 Billion (and plans to keep it there) is pretty damn good. The Federation of Canadian Municipalites themsleves say the infrastructure is $2 billion. That, plus other funding (Green Funds, Municipal Infrastructure funds, etc) means they can whittle that down over time.
This time 2 years ago they had nothing. Its all relative.
Students did actually get pretty well nothing, but neither did I when I went to school. Get a part time job and fill out that OSAP application. Then pay down yoyur student debt when you get out of school. I did. It sucks, but that's life.
Lastly, Kyoto got a big boost yesterday. Apparently, its the "greenest" budget in history. Once again, the FIBs have promised $5 billion (what's with that number?) for cleaning up this stinkin' country. Mostly incentives for power programs, but there's also $2.3 billion to work towards meeting the Kyoto requirements. Much of that plan still has to be finalized. Maybe we should give more money to that loveable character Rick Mercer so he can tell us how little ol' us can help save the planet? I thought we were trying to cut down on noxious gasses?
Anyway, if it was up to me, I would have spent a lot of the money on tax cuts, incentives for businesses and increased productivity. But at least I can say that many of the programs could actually make my life (as a middle class taxpayer from Ontario) a little easier.
Isn't that what's important?
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