It’s easy to see why the Canadian Federation of Independent Business rushed to give the latest federal budget a big A rating.
That A is in black ink, like the budget, which boasts a $1.4 billion surplus.
“A balanced budget shows the government has been looking after business. We are going to retain our AAA credit rating, which is good because it keep the cost of borrowing down,” said Okanagan Coquihalla MP Dan Albas. “That allows us to make sure we are spending more money on people rather than interest. It shows the government takes its commitments seriously.”
Topping the list for the CFIB and many small businesses in the South Okanagan is a move to decrease the small business tax further, dropping from 11 per cent to 9 per cent over the next four years.
“Our approach is to keep all taxes low. That’s good for jobs and good for investment,” said Albas. “We’re providing steady but stable incentives for people to strike out on their own.
On a taxpayer by taxpayer basis, Albas expects that raising the annual limit on tax-free savings accounts to $10,000 from $5,500 will create a lot of interest. When he polled constituents on the idea, Albas said the feedback he received was overwhelmingly in support.
Likewise he expects seniors to benefit from changes to retirement savings regulations. Seniors at age 71 can now leave more money in tax-sheltered Registered Retirement Income Funds.
“People are living longer, they are working longer and this allows them to plan out their life better,” said Albas.
On the spending side of the equation, the government is pouring money into security issues, including $360 million this year to pay for Canada’s mission against ISIS, along with annual hikes of three per cent for National Defence, $18 million this year to fight terrorism – rising to $91 million in five years and $94.4 million over five years for cyber security.
“The first job of any government is to keep people safe,” said Albas. “We know the RCMP are going to be taxed by this growing challenge and we want to be sure they are able to provide programming that can not just prevent terrorism, but actually improve lives.
“Our young people are being targeted and recruited to join in these terrorist activities and it can wreck their lives.”
Albas said the most important thing about the 2015 budget is a combination of the government making sure its books are balanced which projects confidence in the economy, but also allows it to support families.
“This is a great budget not just because it balances our books in the short term, but it allows Canadians to invest in their future,” said Albas.