MONEY: FEDERAL BUDGET: summary, commentary, winners and losers

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Here is your FEDERAL BUDGET PRIMER. A succinct summary of the new federal budget with a conclusion of who are its winners and losers.

The highlights of the 2017 federal budget

  • Abolished: No more Canada Savings Bonds.
  • Artificial Intelligence: $125 million to launch a pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy.
  • Care givers: New care-giving benefit up to 15 weeks, starting next year.
  • Child care: $7 billion over 10 years, already budgeted, for new spaces, starting 2018-19.
  • Coding kids: $50 million over two years for initiatives to teach children to code.
  • Defence: $8.4 billion in capital spending for equipment pushed forward to 2035.
  • Deficit: $28.5 billion, up from $25.4 billion projected in the fall.
  • Families: Option to extend parental leave up to 18 months.
  • Housing: $11.2 billion over 11 years, already budgeted, will go to a national housing strategy.
  • Indigenous: $3.4 billion in new money over five years for infrastructure, health and education.
  • Innovation: $950 million over five years to support business-led “superclusters.”
  • Sin taxes: One cent more on a bottle of wine, five cents on 24 case of beer.
  • Skills: New agency to research and measure skills development, starting 2018-19.
  • Startups: $400 million over three years for a new venture capital catalyst initiative.
  • Transit credit killed: 15 per cent non-refundable public transit tax credit phased out this year.
  • Trend: Deficits gradually decline over next five years — but still at $18.8 billion in 2021-22.
  • Uber tax: GST to be collected on ride-sharing services.

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Commentary:
This is a sequel, not the blockbuster main event. To criticize such a budget, budget ‘lite,’ is not easy. Maybe evaluating it isn’t necessary. Maybe doing so is superfluous. After all, Morneau is merely putting a cork in the bottle as a temporary plug until Trump decides to use his ‘big corkscrew” doing something ridiculous either with the American economy and/or also doing something major with NAFTA. Canada can’t really do much until the elephant decides his position in our shared bed of North America.

But let’s look at the budget through the eyes of SENIORS, NATIONALISTS, ECONOMIC POSITIVE THINKERS.

SENIORS
How is this budget going to affect me?

As I see it, I live too quiet of a life. So this budget is going to have little effect on me.

I don’t use taxis/uber.
I don’t drink [the hope is my waist line will notice…it hasn’t in four months] I don’t pubic transit.
I am not buying a house [likely staying in this one till my dying day.] I don’t have children who need child care.
I don’t make investments in Canada Savings Bonds [who did in the last 10 years?] I will not be needing parental leave [no maternity issues here] I have nothing to do with startup companies, coding skills, Indigenous people.
I have no ties with any technology companies
In short, looks like I don’t do anything.

NATIONALISTS
I have some praise for the budget as I work with computers a lot. So where the federal government plans to give financial support to Artificial Intelligence, super clusters of tech innovation, coding for kids, and startups. I can easily support those endeavours. The government must look to the future which is here now. AI is not down the road, it’s here. Coding skills for kids simply means making young people become more involved in the future today. Technology is the current revolution and our world will be overturned by it. We need to have foresight to see what is coming or at least step forward into that world.

ECONOMIC POSITIVE THINKING
The government may even be short sighted in its regard to what the future holds for the country and its younger citizens.
Housing is a major problem in Canada’s most populated cities. It may be a problem which is not readily resolved. Young people are likely never going to be able to buy homes easily in any of the major Canadian cities unless they win lotteries or have assistance from family. The government is correct in having a policy about housing but what are they going to do. They don’t spell it out.

If any criticism can be thrown at the budget, it is vague. It lacks specifics. It fails to offer concrete plans but that is likely intentional. After all, Trump has not finalized any decisions south of the border yet. Offer nothing specific, and you are likely able to avoid condemnation of failures in the future. What a way to draw up a budget. Vague? Pushing forward defense expenditures to 2035…well, that sure is a safe do nothing offering. Gradual decline of national debt over next five years…can’t argue with that.

Here are some considerations to ponder:
Rona Ambrose’s expense as an MP topped $319,180.54 in 2016
A pair of Liberal MPs spent $40,000 between them on smartphones, laptops and other information technology gear.
An Alberta Conservative MP spent $65,000 s far this year for “repairs and maintenance” on a riding office.
The average annual cost spent by Constituent offices across Canada is about $375,000 …multiply that by 300 consituents…about $125 million…interesting.

FEDERAL BUDGET WINNERS and LOSERS

Winners and losers of the 2017 federal budget of $330 billion

Cities, parents get more money but public transit riders lose tax credit.

OTTAWA—Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government delivered its second budget Wednesday. Here’s a look at the winners and losers.

Winners

  • Caregivers. The Liberals have tinkered with the existing caregiver benefits, promising more flexible parental leave. Parents will be allowed to get lower EI benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months.
  • Cities. The budget commits $11 billion in previously announced infrastructure funding for affordable housing. That’s just shy of what the Federation of Canadian Municipalities had sought but does address a pressing need.
  • Parents. The budget earmarks $7 billion over the next decade to boost the number of child-care spaces, perhaps as many as 40,000. The money is part of the social infrastructure funding announced last year. The budget proposes more flexible parental leave. Parents will be allowed to get lower EI benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months.
  • Veterans. The budget builds on past efforts to enhance programs that support veterans, including a new education and training benefit, career transition, and better support for ill and injured vets.

Losers

  • Friday night fun. The budget imposes modest tax hikes to alcohol, cigarettes and ensures that ride-sharing services such as Uber charges passengers the GST/HST.
  • Military. No new funding — yet. The budget offers no additional cash for the military but the government says stay tuned, promising a long-term funding plan in the coming months, after it has released a new vision for the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • Tax cheats. The budget commits $523 million over five years to crack down on tax evasion and improved tax compliance.
  • Transit riders. The budget scraps the public transit tax credit that allowed riders to claim a 15 per cent tax credit on their transit passes.

 

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