Posted by Tim Stobbs on February 2, 2009
Well if I had to explain the budget this year to someone I would summarize the entire thing as: throw lots of money out the door and see what actually works as stimulus. I mean there seems to be money for everything in that document which is should be since it is 343 pages long.
The down side of that approach was the fact that really nothing is going to change that much. There wasn’t too much significant money put on anything that I would expect to see much change for job creation unless the provincial and municipal governments choose to accept their infrastructure money with its conditions.
So what was in that huge document?
Here’s a summary of some items that caught my eye:
- Tax cuts: Personal exemption was raised from $10,100 to $10,320. Then the next two federal brackets were shifted up 7.5% each. Then the Working Income Tax Benefit was almost doubled. In addition the Child Tax Benifit was increased and the Age Credit was increased. Other than the last three items I can’t see much of a use of these changes. The actual savings to me is going to be somewhere around $30 a month for the first three changes. At that level I would have preferred if the government had kept the money and avoided adding more to the national debt and keep my taxes higher for more of my lifetime. Total cost $20 billion.
- Mortgage Purchase Program: You know about this one. The idea to have the government buy mortgages with borrowed money (ie: government bonds) from the banks to allow them to lend more. It got a $50 billion dollar boost to bring the total to $125 billion.
- More Credit: Via CMHC, Export Development and the Business Development Bank of Canada to the tune of $13 Billion.
- A New National Securities Regulator: I keep hearing this is going to happen, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
- Employment Insurance: Boosted maximum weeks for benefits for five extra weeks and rolled out an increase funding ($500 million over two years) for those on EI who are taking long term training. Also EI contribution rates are frozen for the next two years.
- Training Funds: Rolled out a new fund to help train those not even on EI (self employed and those that didn’t quaify) $500 million and boost training funds in EI by $1 billion (both amounts over two years).
- Home Reno Tax Credit: Spend between $1000 and $10000 over the next 12 months and you can claim 15% of those costs as a tax credit (to the max of $1350). You can even do the work yourself (but you can’t bill out your own labour), but it has to be an improvement, repairs don’t count. This program is just perfect for abuse in my mind, let’s see how the government handles getting copies of ever receipt in Canada for Rona, Home Depot and every other home improvement store in Canada at tax time next year.
- First Time Home Buyers: Can take an extra $5000 each from their RRSP’s via the Home Buyer’s Program and get a tax credit to help cover their closing costs of $750.
- Social Housing: Here there is lots of cash for energy retrofits (50-50 funding), low income seniors housing construction, disability housing construction, and social housing construction for First Nations and some for the North.
- Infrastructure Spending: $7 billion here for a bunch of different project types. The breakdown is insane so go pick up a copy of the document and read it to find out what’s being built near you.
That’s just a few things that caught my eye, there is much more to the document that what I’ve covered. So what did you think of the budget? Like it, hate it, or did you have a better idea? If so please share.