Sunday, March 28, 2010

Budget 2010 - What will it all mean?

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty released the long anticipated Federal Budget. With the recession now supposedly behind us, the Prime Minister has important challenges ahead of him. Namely, balancing the budget again and setting in policies that set will the tories in a position to reach the long elusive position of earning a majority government. For non-profits looking to set their agendas, here's a brief overview of the budgetary priorities of the government:

Budget by the numbers

Projected deficit 2009-2010: $53.8 billion
Projected defict in 2014-2015: $1.8 billion
Projected program expenses 2009-2010: $237.8 billion
Projected revenues in 2014-15: $296.5 billion
Projected program expenses in 2014-15: $257.7 billion
Federal debt 2009-2010: $517.5 billion

The latest budget stays largely true to that, continuing to roll out the stimulus spending already announced while winding down other temporary measures and taking initial steps to tackle Canada's first budget deficit since the mid-1990s.

Deficits to come

Last year, Flaherty projected a $33.7 billion deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year, and $29.8 billion in 2010-11. Budget 2010: News, analysis, videos, live chat and more. By slowing the rate of previously planned growth in the defence budget, Ottawa hopes to save $525 million in 2012-13 and $1 billion annually thereafter.

In addition, Ottawa will spend less than previously projected on foreign aid. The capping of aid at 2011 levels will save an additional $1.8 billion by 2014, the budget forecasts. For many non-profits concerned by international development issues, this could become a challenging era and the need to re-focus their efforts will be all the more important.

In my opinion, trade and professional associations will have the most opportunities to make a difference in 2010/ 2011. For business associations, the government is signaling its biggest priority - job creation and economic recovery. To further spur business investment, Ottawa is also pushing ahead with plans to make Canada the country with the lowest corporate income tax rate in the G8 by 2012. At 22 per cent in 2007, Canada's corporate tax rate is on pace to fall to 15 per cent by 2012. Under the program, homeowners received up to $1,350 in tax relief on home renovation projects.

For organizations in the construction, energy efficiency, and environmental sector Ottawa did, however, unveil $80 million in new tax credits available for energy-efficient retrofits by Canadian homeowners. Their challenge will be maintaining contact with Natural Resources Canada and other departments to ensure these credits meet their members' needs.

How has Budget 2010 affected your organization?

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/03/04/budget-flaherty-parliament-ottawa.html#ixzz0jUaOCyHr

Mark Buzan is Principal of Action Strategies, a GR Consultancy for non-profits. If you have questions on how you feel your organization could benefit from legislative monitoring services or even undertaking a grassroots advocacy initiative. Subscribe now to his Lobbying tips newsletter at www.actionstrategies.ca

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