Here are the highlights of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s fourth federal budget:
— 40 (b) billion dollars in economic stimulus over two years, including infrastructure spending and tax cuts.
— Total tax relief for Canadians worth 20 (b) billion dollars for this fiscal year and next five years.
— Cuts business taxes by two (b) billion dollars for this fiscal year and next five years.
— Projected deficit of about 34 (b) billion dollars in fiscal 2009 and 30 (b) billion in 2010; total deficit of almost 85 (b) billion dollars over five years.
— Basic personal tax exemption and the two lowest personal income tax brackets increased retroactive to January 1st. Cuts worth 10.9 (b) billion dollars over five years.
— Raises Age Credit for seniors, boosts Working Income Tax Benefit for low-income Canadians and raises phase-out levels for National Child Benefit and Canada Child Tax Benefit. Cuts worth 6.5 (b) billion dollars over this fiscal year and next five years.
— Employment Insurance benefits extended by five weeks to a maximum of 50 weeks and E-I payroll taxes frozen for two years.
— 12 (b) billion dollars for infrastructure spending on things such as roads, sewers and universities. Seven (b) billion dollars is new funding.
— 7.8 (b) billion dollars for social housing and private home renovation. Includes a one-year Home Renovation Tax Credit of up to one-thousand-350-dollars per household for eligible projects such as kitchen or basement renovations over the next year only.
— 8.3 (b) billion dollars for skills and training, including 1.5 (b) billion in new cash to retrain workers.
— One- (b) billion-dollar fund to help single-industry towns diversify.
— One (b) billion dollars over five years for new Southern Ontario Development Agency; 50 (m) million over five years for new regional economic development agency for Northern Canada.
— Up to 200 (b) billion dollars to be made available to businesses in liquidity and financing to ensure Canadian consumers and businesses have access to credit, including 50 (b) billion extra for the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, and a 12- (b) billion-dollar secured credit facility to improve access to financing to buy and lease new vehicles and equipment.
— 2.7 (b) billion dollars in short-term loans to the auto industry in conjunction with the Ontario and U-S governments.
— Ottawa to take steps to establish a federal security regulator but provincial participation to be voluntary.