The Liberals have taken great pains to stress that it will be balanced so I suspect it will be, unless they are completely crazy.
It will be interesting to see what, if any, new ideas are in there re: Self-Sufficiency or if they will be holding off on that until the Task Force final report comes out in April - which would mean major changes have to wait until the next budget in 2008. Speaking of which, Eugene at To Be Announced has a cute post about the proposal to sell bonds for economic development guaranteed by NB Liquor Corp.
I'll start updating shortly after 2 when the budget documents are released...
You can find all of the budget documents here.
There is a surlpus of $37.1 million. Huge economic growth last year thanks in large part to high zinc prices pushed the value of mineral production up 63.8 per cent to a record $1.5 billion. This is how they overcame to the forecast $300 million deficit by Grant Thorton in December along with cutting the HST rebate and cutting administrative costs.
New funding for five departments:
- Health gets $127 million more (+6.6%)
- Education gets $47 million more (+5.7%)
- Family & Community Services gets $67.4 million (+8.4%) + a 3% increase to welfare rates
- Elizabeth Weir's Efficiency NB get $15.3 million more (+234%)
- Population Growth gets $1.8 million more (+167%)
TAXES GOING UP
Bracket 1 goes up to 10.12% from 9.68%
Bracket 2 goes up to 15.48% from 14.82%
Bracket 3 goes up to 16.80% from 16.52%
Bracket 4 goes up to 17.95% from 17.84%
Click here for the current rates and the unchanged cut-offs. All New Brunswickers pay bracket 1, then if you make more than $33,450 you start paying bracket 2 on the income above and beyond that number and so on.
(edit, I must be dyslexic, if you read this over the course of a few minutes before I corrected my error, I had read the numbers backwards)
The tax increase is not all bad and may be negatived by other actions of the government. Our taxes remain the lowest in Atlantic Canada and the bracket rates are being re-indexed, eliminating the bracket creep brought in by the Tories a few years ago which allowed them to raise taxes without technically raising taxes and preventing New Brunswickers from seeing their real income from going down as tax rates will adjust with inflation thus relieving in the tax cycle what New Brunswickers lose through the course of the year thanks to higher cost of living.
Corporate taxes are raised marginally. The coroporate tax cut of 2006 will be a one year affair, as for the 2007 tax year it will return to 2005 levels. However the previous Lord corporate tax cuts are still in effect giving New Brunswick the fourth lowest corporate tax in Canada.
The small business tax is also going up marginally. I am not too upset about the first two tax increases, but this is a bad idea.
The province is following the federal government's lead and axing the program that allows foreigners to send in their receipts and get the sales tax that they paid while here back. I have no problem with this.
Spinks should be happy, a form of income splitting is coming. New Brunswick is following Ottawa's lead and allowing pension income to be split.