We asked what you wanted to see in the March 4 federal budget and you responded in droves. Within days, there were more than 150 suggestions posted about what Ottawa should include in its next federal blueprint in order to start cutting the deficit and easing the burden on everyday Canadians.
Over the next week, we will start compiling your suggestions in line with a number of themes. A full list of suggestions will always be available on this page. Just go down to our comment section and scroll through for a complete collection of our readers' suggestions.
The following is a small selection of comments from our readers about what they want the federal government to do with the country's finances:
1) Raise the GST. A surprising number of people called on Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to take back cuts to the federal goods and services tax, which now stands at 5 per cent. Here's what you had to say:
- Fix the irresponsible mistake made by the current government in lowering the GST while we carried a huge federal debt. It needs to be raised back to 7% immediately, and never again consider lowering it until we have that debt lifted from our shoulders.
- Bring back the GST to 7% or to 6%. It won't show too much on my bills and it will increase government revenue by %6-12 billion a year.
- Although the GST ought to be increased 1 point per year over 2 years - and possibly beyond 7 % on a temporary and reviewable basis once the deficit is licked. The Auditor General's office can police this on behalf of citizens.
- Raise the GST to 10% and lower personal income taxes an equivalent amount.
- When it comes time to cool down the overheating economy (that time will come, sooner or later) don't raise interest rates. That will only raise the national debt as debt service payments increase. Raise the GST. That cools down the economy, but the money doesn't go into the pockets of the bankers.
- Allow people to pay whatever rate of GST they wish at the time of purchase. Then those calling for an increase can do it.
2) Income splitting. Some readers want to see it extended beyond allowing seniors to split eligible pension income.
- I think income splitting should be available all Canadian couples, not just pensioners. This is a tax fairness issue.
- income splitting for families with young kids
3) Restore the home renovation tax credit, which expired at the start of February. This idea was popular with many people on the comment board. Some offered suggested tweaks to the plan too.
- I would like to see the home renovation tax credit increased but made contingent on renovations related to a certified energy audit. This would encourage green renovation effectively saving energy and by increasing the demand would stimulate employment for the trades.
- Keep renovation tax break but only for green retrofits
- Extension of the renovation tax. It is priming the economy and putting people to work. An added benefit is it cuts down on the underground economy by encouraging people to report their payments
4) Income trusts. Easily one of the most requested fixes. Many people also cited the Marshall Savings Plan as a possible replacement. Here are just a few of the many thoughts readers had on the subject:
- Revise the plan to change the way income trusts are taxed. There are plans available that would leave trusts very much as a source income without any tax leakage.
- Eliminate the proposed tax on Income Trusts. This proposal has been an absolute disaster, and the government has failed to prove that there will be any tax loss resulting. In the meantime it has made Canadian Trust businesses weaker and subject to foreign takeovers