Gov. has spending problem

This week, the House of Commons is adjourned and will resume next week with the much anticipated budget to be delivered on March 22.

As is often the case, there are considerable rumors circulating about the content of the budget. At this point, the only details we know with certainty is the budget will again run a considerable deficit while the Liberal Government refuses to disclose when the budget will again return to balance, given that the promised date of 2019 will not be met.

The Liberals have created a very serious problem. Increases in program spending along with a cut to income taxes in particular for those in the $100,000 up to $199,000 threshold have essentially created a structural deficit where spending now exceeds revenue each year by a sizeable margin.

To further complicate this situation, as I mentioned last week, in 2019, Liberals will also significantly increase infrastructure spending according to their fiscal plan. In essence, the Government is now out of money and is borrowing, creating a situation where increasingly more money is spent paying interest on debt, leaving less money available for other programs.

In fact Canada now spend more on debt servicing each year than we do on national defence. As you may also be aware, Canada has recently been singled out for not fulfilling its NATO budgetary spending commitments.

For the Liberals, who inherited a balanced budget, the sudden change in Canada’s fiscal situation has created a serious problem. With spending only set to increase, the only alternative is to increase taxes.

This was recently contemplated with the idea to make employer provided health and dental plans to be considered as taxable benefits before the Government backed off on the idea. Currently, the Government is now exploring other options where taxes can be increased without causing harm to the Canadian economy.

I mention this fact as the new administration in the United States is lowering many taxes in particular for the corporate sector. Although the U.S. presidential twitter feed seems to attract most of the media attention these days lower U.S. corporate taxes are a real concern for Canadian competitiveness.

As one example, Canadian business investment declined over two per cent in the most recent fiscal quarter and has declined every fiscal quarter since the Liberal Government was elected. 

The decline in investment is a particular concern as new investment typically leads to more jobs and by extension citizens who are employed and paying taxes instead of being unemployed and drawing benefits.

The solution? The Liberals have hinted they will undertake a taxation review that many have speculated will be an exercise to eliminate various tax credits in an effort to increase revenue.

It has also been suggested the Government may increase the capital gains tax. In theory, most support an increased capital gains tax, but the downside of such a move is a term called “asset lock” where assets are not sold in order to avoid paying taxes on the capital gains.

Having assets on hold does little to stimulate the economy and does not produce the revenue expectations of government thus creating a no win situation.

In my opinion, the Government will need to concede that it has developed a spending problem and we are  leaving bills for our kids and our grandkids, a situation most I believe would agree is not responsible. 

My question today relates to the budget. Do you believe the Government should place a greater priority on having a plan to return to balance?

I can be reached at [email protected] or you  call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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