The federal government is rolling out a long-awaited 2011 election promise.
Last month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in a press conference numerous increased incentives that the government had promised to make reality only once the budget was balanced.
Those announcements included the increasing the Family Tax Cut, a tax credit that will allow a higher-income spouse to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket. Increasing the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) for children under age six. As of Jan. 1, 2015, parents will receive a benefit of $160 per month for each child under the age of six – up from $100 per month. Expanding the UCCB to children aged six through 17. As of Jan. 1, 2015, under the expanded UCCB, parents will receive a benefit of $60 per month for children aged six through 17.
Harper said in the news conference that these measures will put money back into the pockets of Canadians.
“Our government is focused on helping hard-working Canadian families make ends meet, by making important priorities like child care and afterschool sports more affordable. Under this plan, every family with children will have more money in their pockets, to spend on their priorities as a family,” the prime minister said.
“Our government is fulfilling its promise to balance the federal budget. We are now in a position to fulfill our promise to help Canadian families balance theirs.”
Vegreville-Wainwright MP Leon Benoit said that this will not only be beneficial to the people he represents, but the majority of families across the country.
“The average couple, with two children, will add up to $1,100 in savings. That added to, how you look at it, the $3,400 a year that families are saving,” he said.
“It also means tax savings for every family that has children under 17 years of age.”
Battlefords-Lloydminster MP and federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said that the announcement is good news for everyone.
“Now parents can make a decision on how to frame their child care, and particularly in rural Canada there isn’t much around,” he said. “This allows them parents the option to decide if one spouse wants to stay home or work part time. This gives those families the cash flow to help make those decisions.”
Ritz said that when you go back over the campaign platform in 2011, “We said that when it’s affordable, and when we get back into the balanced budget and it projected that we were going to be in that area next fiscal year.”
Ritz then added that the strong economy this year turned out to be positive for the country, so the government was able to announce the tax measures earlier than anticipated.
“With the economy chugging along like it is, we were able to do this in the final year of our mandate,” he said.
“We said that we would do this in our mandate, and now we are crossing it off our list.”
Benoit said that this government isn’t forgetting the single spouse families, or low income earners.
“This will be benefit everyone, and there is an increase to the UCCB of $60 a month, which will benefit everyone,” he said.
Benoit added that things that the government has done since they’ve taken power, has benefited single income families as well.
“We have put in place, since taking power in 2006, the ability of single parent households to claim exemptions,” he said.
Within hours of the announcement, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau slammed the move, saying that income splitting would only benefit families of highincome earners.
“Canadians need a plan for jobs and growth,” he said in a news release. “The prime minister’s income splitting plan does nothing to encourage economic growth or strengthen the middle class.
“It is unfair to ask middle class families to pay for this tax break. The vast majority of Canadian families will receive no benefit from income splitting. Single mothers will receive nothing; families with parents in the same income bracket will receive nothing.
“Liberals will oppose this policy, and we will continue to put forward positive solutions that will help our economy grow and give all Canadians a real and fair chance at success.”
Families will be able to claim the Family Tax Cut when they file their 2014 tax returns, according to Ritz.