Souris-Moose Mountain MP Ed Komarnicki is applauding the budget released by the federal government on Thursday.
"In order for there to be long term prosperity, we must balance our budget as we said we would by 2015, we must keep our taxes low and control our spending," said Komarnicki. "These are conditions for success and in addition to getting this right, we need to make sure that business continues to grow by providing the human resources they need and the infrastructure they rely on."
Continued cuts in departmental spending, reducing travel costs, closing tax loopholes, improving CRA compliance programs, and providing for a better and more efficient administration are positive steps to ensure are positive steps that would help balance the budget by 2015, he said.
This budget increases health care, education, or social service transfer payments to provinces in order to balance the budget. And it does not impose any tax increases, like a carbon tax that Komarnicki said is favoured by the NDP.
"Since we have taken office, we have reduced taxes 150 times, and today an average family of four is able to keep over $3,200 that otherwise would go to taxes of one kind or another," said Komarnicki.
The budget continues to build on the success that has been seen in the economy in Canada, he said. The national unemployment rate is now seven per cent, and Canada has created over 950,000 net new jobs since July 2009.
"However, we cannot be complacent if we, as most Canadians, wish to see an increase in jobs, growth, and long term prosperity," said Komarnicki.
It also provides for long term infrastructure programs with provinces and municipalities worth over $53 billion over 10 years. Municipalities were looking for long term, sustainable, and predictable funding, and the budget goes a long way towards that goal.
There will be $32.2 billion over 10 years for a Community Improvement Fund, consisting of: an indexed Gas Tax Fund and the incremental GST rebate for municipalities; $14 billion for a new Building Canada Fund to support major economic projects of national, regional, and local significance; $1.2 billion for the renewal of the P3 Canada Fund; and $6 billion under current infrastructure programs for provinces, territories, and municipalities in 2014 – 15 and beyond.
"This long term, predictable funding represents the largest and longest federal infrastructure investment in Canadian history," he said.
The budget also creates the Canadian Job Grant, which could provide $15,000 or more per person, including a maximum federal contribution of $5,000, matched by provincial/territorial and employer funding, to help Canadians get the skills they need for in-demand jobs.
"As chair of the Human Resources committee, I have heard time and time again that labour shortages exist, particularly in the skilled trades, and especially in the mining, oil and gas extraction and construction industry," said Komarnicki. "I am pleased the budget addresses this in a bold and direct way."
This budget creates opportunities for apprentices by supporting the use of apprenticeships in federal construction and maintenance contracts, in projects under the Building Canada Plan, and through investments made in affordable housing. It invests in training for First Nations youth by providing $241 million to help them access the skills and training they need, including funds to help with post-secondary education.
It provides support to underrepresented groups such as persons with disabilities, young Canadians, new Canadians, and Aboriginal peoples.
Other highlights of the budget are:
*Extending the Temporary Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for new investments in machinery and equipment;
*Extending and expanding of the Hiring Credit for Small Business;
*Increasing the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption from $750,000 to $800,000, with indexing going forward;
*Doubling the current deduction limit under restricted farm loss from $8750 to $17,000;
*Upgrading the North Portal border crossing;
*Investing over $1.25 billion to support investments in affordable housing;
*Investing nearly $600 million to the Homelessness Partnership Strategy;
*New tax relief for Canadians who give to charity, adopt a child, or rely on homecare services;
*Enhancing the Funeral and Burial Program by simplifying it and more than doubling the current funeral services reimbursement rate from $3,600 to $7,376.