WILL THE BUDGET BRING RELIEF?

With the pundits beside themselves on national television yesterday as to just what today’s federal budget will hold, one thing seems to be certain. The Conservatives will target the most widely abused group in Canadian politics; the middle class.

In statements to the press yesterday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty alluded to a budget that would finally give some much needed relief to the middle class, and to the upper and lower classes as well. That remains to be seen but would be a welcome change from the tax and spend days that we have seen.

Will the cuts be offset by increases to other areas of the economy or will they be real cuts? While the past government did actually appear to cut taxes, some independent think tanks have stated that when all is said and done, Canadians pay 50% or more of their income in taxes in one form or another.

With the feds willing to finally offer some relief, will the other levels of government simply see this as breathing room to raise taxes? Another good question and one that has me the most worried. Provinces have been under increased pressure lately by various groups attempting to get more out of the pot. One of the most vocal lobby groups has been the local governments of the cities in which we live.

Homeowners in the G.T.A. have seen their taxes increase substantially in the last 15 years with no end in sight. Our local politicians have become drunk with power as their coffers have continued to increase with property values. Their spending habits have become unmanageable and their seems to be little impetus for them to curb their uncontrolled spending increases.

Back to the fed. Their is speculation that the Conservatives are under mounting pressure to leave the former tax cuts by the Liberals intact. While stating all along that those cuts would be reversed to pay for the reduction in the G.S.T., some now say that those tax cuts may live through the budget.

Within the much anticipated document is a much awaited stipend to assist parents with the care of their children. While many hoped for a national system of entitlement to be unraveled to begin its uncontrollable growth rate, the present leadership in Ottawa has found a more balanced and equitable plan. The budget is expected to push ahead with the Tories’ much vaunted childcare tax credit. While disappointed those who have pushed for a national system which would have helped the few who wish to place their kids in an institutional care environment, those who raise their own children couldn’t be happier. Finally, there is a federal initiative to actually reward their choice in caregivers; themselves.

The environment as well will not be forgotten as the new transit rider tax incentives will come into being. As someone who has recently begun to take transit to work, I am looking forward to seeing how that one will work.

With parents who choose to stay at home with their children finally being recognized, workers who must spend thousands of dollars on the tools of their trade being helped, the middle class receiving tax relief, the lowest income earners (those who pay NO income tax) receiving further relief through G.S.T. cuts, and a budget that will serve to properly equip our men and women in combat roles, I see few areas where anyone will be worse off. (For those of you in Ontario, that is at least until Dalton McGuinty finds a way to claw back the gains you will see.)

I am sure that today’s budget will do the people of Canada and the economy well. Now it’s time to rein in the politicians at the municipal level.