Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Budget briefs

Some scattered thoughts on the first conservative government federal budget in 13 years:

All in all, I think I'm generally satisfied. Promised tax relief came through, without any major slashing of spending in programs near and dear to my heart.

I don't really have an opinion on whether Canada needs more or less of a military presence, but regardless, I was pleased to see defense get a $5.3-billion injection. No matter what our armed forces are doing, I want them well paid, and more than adequately-supplied. That money should help.

On the highly-publicized GST credit, I must say I'm not overly impressed. Abolishing it altogether would have made a statement, but reducing it by 1% doesn't seem like it will have any impact on Canadians' wallets. There's a bunch of different estimates floating around about how much it will mean to the average Canadian, but no matter what the number ends up being, it'll come in too incrementally to have a major impact on most people. As much as I'd love to believe those hard-working single mothers are going to take the penny they'll now save on every disposable dollar they spend and put it into a GIC the minute they get home, I somehow doubt it. I suspect this move was more about optics than really putting money in Canadians' pockets.

I don't like the $1.3-billion Ottawa has pledged to spend to build a subway extension only uppity York students are going to use, but transit funding did provide me with one nice little surprise. High marks for the public transit tax rebate proposal. By 2007, people who buy a Metropass every month (like me) can claim up to 15.5% of that as tax deductible. In my case, it'll add up to a nice little credit of $185 a year. Well done. It's a fiscally sound policy and it'll go further towards helping the environment than most of the half-baked proposals I've heard bandied about. There might just be hope for these Tories yet.

I'll have more to say once I've digested the contents a little.

No comments: