This afternoon, Finance Minister Joe Oliver will deliver what may be the final budget of the Harper Government. This will be an election budget, structured to optimize the chances that the Conservative win the next election, whether held in October or earlier.
Despite the tradition of budget secrecy, details have been leaking for weeks. Expected in the budget are:
- A small budgetary surplus for this fiscal year;
- Income splitting
- More paid time off to help care for dying family members;
- Doubled contribution limits to tax-free savings accounts;
- Boosts to the Universal Child Care Benefit and the Child Fitness Tax Credit
The Liberals and NDP have been shouting since its announcement that the income splitting scheme is beneficial only to the top 15% of income earners and will cost the country $2 billion annually. This is expected to be a major plank in both opposition party's campaigns.
I wonder whether the Conservatives are considering deferring income splitting due to the impact of the large reduction in the price of oil. Imagine the power of this choice, at the same time expressing their desire to reduce taxes while retaining the perception of the stalwart, conservative steward of the economy.
Consider April 21st the unofficial beginning of the 2015 election. For those of us who enjoy such things, the big fun starts today.