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Federal Conservative Perspective: Federal Budget 2015-2016

Canadian Quarters Lined Up | MorboKat  -  Source  -  CC BY
Canadian Quarters Lined Up | MorboKat - Source - CC BY

After years of spending billions to fight the great recession, followed by years of spending discipline, our federal budget is now balanced. At the height of the recession we were spending $55.6B a year more than came in to create economic activity and help those in need. That was temporary and targeted. Since that time, by freezing, reducing and eliminating spending in many areas, just like families do, our government is now in surplus of $1.4B.

Frankly, this was a difficult process with many tough decisions, the kind that most countries in southern Europe refused to make until the banks forced them to. That is why these countries are in such dire circumstances, with high unemployment, and have had massive cuts to social programs and pensions.

In 2014 Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who has no experience in business and has never had to balance a budget, told CPAC’s Peter Van Dusen: “grow the economy and the budget will balance itself”. Budgets do not balance themselves. This is the kind of thinking that got Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece in such terrible financial trouble. We must never let that happen in Canada. Government spending has to be managed responsibly every day. Our spending on everything we cherish in healthcare, CPP, OAS, and other supports depends on responsible management.

But what does a balanced budget mean to you? It means that our government can now help you balance your budget, and help to make life easier for families, individuals, and charities, including those who need family caregivers in their homes.

Since 2006 our Conservative government has achieved the lowest federal tax burden in more than fifty years. We have cut taxes of every kind. In total we have saved a typical family of four $6,600, resulting from lower taxes and increased benefits. The opposition parties do not support our tax decreases and, given the chance, would raise taxes on families and individuals.

Eleven million Canadians have opened tax free savings accounts (TFSAs), the most significant tax change ever to help Canadians save, which my government created.

Investment growth in these accounts is all yours, never to be taxed again under the Conservatives. TFSAs are creating a new generation of ordinary people who will become financially independent much earlier in life. In this budget we have increased the maximum amount per year to be saved in these accounts to $10,000 to make that easier. But please be forewarned: the Liberals have already said they would reverse this increase! And they are grossly misleading Canadians on TSFAs, saying that they “do nothing for middle class families”. The truth is that over half the people who have opened TFSAs earn $41,000 a year or under. And 59.4% of those who are maximum contributors make less than $60,000 a year. These are all middle class people.

These people are growing their after tax savings faster, free from government interference. Why are the Liberals misleading Canadians? And why are they against helping Canadians save for their future? Why not ask my Liberal opponent this question if he knocks on your door in the coming weeks and months. Mr. Trudeau promised he would practice a new kind of politics as leader. Yet this is the oldest kind of politics: say something that is false so repeatedly that people start believing it. I believe the Liberals want to get their hands on more of your money. It’s that simple.

Raising children has become increasingly more expensive, and families need a break. That is why the budget has introduced a package of reforms in our Low Tax Plan for Families that includes increases in the Universal Child Care Benefit for children under six years old to $1,920 a year, and $720 a year for children ages 6 through 17.

Under this plan, a couple with two children ages four and nine will receive $2,640 yearly to help with the costs of raising children. If they have four children ages two, four, seven and nine they will receive $5,280 yearly. Other changes in the plan include the day care tax credit rising by $1,000, the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit rising to $1,000, and Income Splitting up to $2,000 for couples with children who earn different incomes. Every family in Canada with children under eighteen years will benefit from our low tax plan, regardless of income.

Justin Trudeau’s misleading claim on radio ads is: Income Splitting is a “$2 billion dollar tax break for the rich.”

The truth is that the majority of the benefits of the Income Splitting part will go to low and middle income Canadians! Here are a few examples of families who will benefit from our plan:

  1. Pat and Christine have two children. Pat earns $60,000 a year. Chris has no earnings. They will benefit by $1,055.
  2. Isabelle earns $60,000. Marc is a stay-at-home dad with no income. They would save $1,070 a year in taxes.
  3. Thomas and Maddy have two children ages 3 and 6. They each earn $60,000. Their net benefit will be $875.

According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, as quoted in MacLean’s Magazine:

1. Most of the benefits of income splitting will go to Canadians in the lower tax brackets.

2. 52% of the benefits will flow to the estimated 1/3 of families that have combined incomes of between $60,000 and $120,000.

3. Only 32% of the benefits will flow to couples with children making more than $120,000 combined.

4. 17% of the benefits will go to families with children making less than $60,000.

I don’t consider any of the above families to be rich. Do you?

Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have already said they would take away Income Splitting from families if they have the chance. Based on my experience I believe the Liberals are philosophically opposed to income splitting. That means that income splitting for seniors, which is already the law, could be taken away as well if the Liberals ever formed a government. We are apparently facing a nasty election in October , as the truth seems to be the first casualty.

There is plenty more in the budget that is focussed on investing in a ‘jobs economy’, our number one priority: in small business, research and development, a more skilled workforce, trade and infrastructure for communities, including new money of $1B to be added to our $70B Building Canada Fund for Public Transit, and an action plan to help women entrepreneurs succeed.

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