Monday, March 19, 2007

Budget 2007

Today's Budget appears truly innovative. Here are my Thoughts:

+ The biggest ticket item was a system of transfer payments to provinces, that will allow them to deliver programs that are within their areas of responsibility. It makes logical sense that the level of government closest to the people delivers government programs wherever practical. Hopefully, this will also allow for provincial tax cuts.

+/- There was definitely less tax relief than I was hoping for although the $2,000 tax credit ($310 in actual tax savings) for each child will offer families some support.

+/- I hope that the increased funding announced for Health Care and the Environment are attached to well thought out plans to ensure we get value for our money. While both are important, they can both be a blackhole if not managed properly. I hope that this isn't merely throwing money at a problem because it's an election year.

+ $60 million to support our troops is very welcome. This money looks like is targeted to helping soldiers directly. (Incidentally at the Conservative Rally in Toronto on Saturday, there was sustained applause every time Stephen mentioned supporting our troops.)

+/- More money for Agriculture, again I hope that this money is delivered effectively. It's badly needed, but this government could definitely be more cooperative with farm groups and provincial governments on this front.

++ The Working Income Tax Benefit looks like the boldest move in the budget. I cannot say enough good about this program. It will help people come off welfare by providing a tax incentive to get started working. Welfare traps people by offering benefits as long as people do not work, and taking away those benefits as soon as they start working. This benefit looks like it's designed to help people out of the trap without cutting benefits to those in need!

- One small disappointment, according to this Globe and Mail article, this budget will continue to fund Status of Women Canada. That's too bad. As Suzanne at Big Blue Wave notes, it's time to abolish the SOW.

Overall, the budget gets a positive rating from this blog; especially because of the innovative Working Income Tax Benefit.

No comments: