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Highlights from the 2013 Federal Budget

When Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unveiled the Conservative government’s 2013 budget in Parliament last week, it was widely believed that it was going to be made up of cut after cut after cut. The Conservatives, and Mr. Flaherty himself, have been extremely vocal about bringing the country’s books back into balance by 2015. But while the opposition may have already been preparing their arguments and their slandering the Conservatives, most pointed to these expected cuts, the budget actually wasn’t as restrictive as many had predicted. Here are the six key highlights from this year’s budget, and what they mean for Canadian businesses, consumers, and households.

The Cuts
As promised, the 2013 federal budget did bring some cuts with Mr. Flaherty declaring that this budget “contains the smallest increase in discretionary spending in nearly 20 years.” That of course, is to help get the books back in balance. However these cuts, promises Mr. Flaherty, won’t affect provinces or Canadians, as the federal government will not be limiting the amount of money given to them.

Jobs
One of the biggest highlights was the amount of jobs the Conservatives are going to help create this year. Through the Canada Job Grant Canadians could potentially receive $15,000 or even more per person, with $5,000 coming from the federal government. Employers and the provinces would be expected to match whatever comes from the government.

Elimination of the CIDA
In an effort towards “international synergy,” and overall efficiency, there will no longer be a Canadian International Development Agency. This organization provided critical work to help developing countries and the citizens in them. However this does not mean that Canada will no longer be providing those services. Instead, those duties will be taken on by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; and because the growth this organization will be seeing, and to identify it as a new entity, it will now be called the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

Boost to manufacturers
Those in the manufacturing business can breathe a sigh of relief. Instead of seeing more restrictions and taxes from the government, in order to help them balance the books, manufacturers will instead receive tax relief of up to $1.4 billion for new machinery and equipment, spread out over the span of four years.

Tax cuts on certain items
Some items that are deemed to be necessary or of certain benefit to Canadians will have taxes reduced on them. These include baby clothes, sports equipment, ice skates, and golf clubs. Whether or not Canadian consumers will reap these benefits are yet to be seen.

Getting tough on taxes
Along with talking regularly about getting the books back into balance, the Conservatives have also been very vocal lately about getting tough on taxes. This has mostly included those citizens that owe taxes and have so far evaded them – something that is said to be costing the government billions of dollars in revenue currently. Along with these new measures, the budget also included the elimination of “unintended tax benefits” that gives some individuals and businesses the right not to pay taxes, through certain loopholes such as moving the money off-shore. This budget clearly cracks down on that, including rewards for those who blow the whistle on such tax evaders.

What did you like best about the 2013 federal budget? What did you like least about it?

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