Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s March 19, 2019 Federal Budget message was that, thanks to the Federal Government’s investments over the past three years, things are going well, especially for the middle class: more Canadians have full-time jobs, unemployment is at historic lows, wages are growing, consumers and businesses are confident, economic growth is good, and our debt is manageable.
Nonetheless, says Morneau, more needs to be done to ensure Canadians’ prosperity over the coming years. For the most part, that means adding tax credits and other incentives and enhancing existing ones, giving the Canada Revenue Agency more resources to recover unpaid taxes and to help businesses comply, measures to reduce tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, improving retirement and disability savings plans, and introducing the framework for a national prescription drug plan.
It does not mean making changes to personal and business tax rates, making substantive effort to improve the efficiency of the Income Tax Act or making significant cuts intended to reduce the deficit.
In brief, the 2019 Budget includes $22.8 billion in new spending over the next five years. The government expects revenues to steadily increase by nearly $60 billion in 2023 and projects program spending to increase by $40 billion that year. Debt payments are projected to increase by $7 billion.
Based on these growth and spending assumptions, the government expects the federal deficit to increase to nearly $20 billion in 2019-2020 and 2020-21 and then decline to $9.8 billion at the end of the next five years.
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