Federal budget lands mixed reviews

The Liberals reveal their first budget since being elected last year

When all was said and done, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of Canadians who were overly thrilled with the newly-released federal budget on Tuesday afternoon.

Nearly $30 billion in deficits eclipsed what was originally planned as the maximum the government would descend intodeficit during the campaign, it was thought it would be $10 billion at the most.

One sign of hope for Central Albertans, however, was the temporary extension of Employment Insurance of up to 70 weeksof coverage in 12 regions across the country. As well, starting next year, the wait time for benefits will be reduced from twoweeks to one week. This is welcomed news as we all know in Central Alberta, the economy has particularly hit the regionhard.

One low point of the budget is defense spending. According to news reports, billions in planned equipment spending waspushed past the next election. This announcement on the very day that Brussels was attacked by ISIS and we continue tolive in a world plagued by terrorism.

The budget also sees the removal of some of the former government’s tax breaks such as tax credits for tuition andtextbooks and student’s fitness and arts costs.

And according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the government broke an election commitment tomiddle class small business owners across the country.

“In its platform, in a written letter to CFIB members, and in campaign stops across the country, the new governmentpromised to reduce the small business corporate tax rate to nine per cent by 2019. That promise was broken today as itannounced the rate will remain at 10.5 per cent after 2016,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president.

Kelly also pointed out how small business owners, not to mention Canadians at large, are, “Deeply troubled by theballooning deficit.

“What was proposed to Canadians as a short-term $10 billion deficit plan to invest in critical infrastructure is now $29billion with no plan to get back to balance,” Kelly said. “Small business owners know that today’s deficits are tomorrow’staxes.

“Other than some infrastructure spending, there is nothing in this budget that will help any small firm create even one job.The CFIB will be pressing the new government to reinstate the small business corporate tax rate cut and restore confidenceamong small business owners in the months ahead,” Kelly concluded.

The budget also received criticism from the Official Opposition.

Rona Ambrose, interim leader of the Conservative Party, called the budget a, “Nightmare scenario for taxpayers” who will beforced to pick up the tab for today’s Liberal spending spree.

“The Liberal election pledge to borrow a ‘modest’ $10 billion per year has been cast aside and in its place a shocking $30billion dollars is being borrowed this year alone. Canadians gave them an inch, and they’re taking miles. After breakingsuch a simple promise, we can’t trust them to control spending, manage our economy or create the jobs we need.

“What the Liberals don’t seem to understand is that borrowed money has to be paid back. They are already raising taxes onfamilies, youth and small businesses, with more to come down the line as debt payments come due.”

Only time will tell how the impacts of this budget really play out especially in such uncertain economic times.