This budget contains new measures that will have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of every Canadian. These include a new children's art tax credit and a new family caregiver tax credit, extending the popular eco-energy retrofit program to help families lower their heating and electricity bills, enhancing the GIS so that low income seniors will receive additional annual benefits of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples, and enhancing or extending the programs to help businesses keep workers and providing a hiring credit for small businesses to make new hires. These measures build on our government's strong record of support for families, seniors and small businesses, a record that I believe speaks for itself.
I would also draw attention to several significant specific achievements of this government. We have cut taxes more than 120 times since forming government, and increased the amount Canadians can earn tax free. Thanks to our Conservative government's decisive tax relief actions, a typical family will save more than $3,000 a year in taxes. We reduced the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%, and the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%. Significantly, we have removed over 85,000 seniors from the tax rolls altogether, and introduced pension income splitting for seniors.
I am also pleased to see our government has set out a three point plan to eliminate the deficit, a plan that is achievable and measurable. As a result, we remain on track to balance the budget by 2014, 2015. I am proud of the work our government has done to bring our country through the global downturn. By all accounts, we have done a remarkable job and set an example for the entire world to follow. For these reasons, I will support this budget.
However, high taxes are still a problem for Canadian taxpayers. The Fraser Institute recently declared Monday, June 6 as tax freedom day, the day on which the average Canadian has paid their total tax bill for the year and at that point starts working for themselves.
In 2011, the average Canadian family will earn $93,831 in income and pay a total of $39,960 in taxes to all levels of government, or 42.6%. This year's tax freedom day is two years later than last year's, and ironically is due to our growing economy and Canadians' increasing incomes, which moved many of them into higher tax brackets. There is no sign that tax freedom will arrive any sooner next year.
Over and over again I am asked, why is it so difficult for government to trim the excess when Canadians across the country have to cut back on their variable spending and make a conscious effort to stretch their hard-earned dollars to the limit. This budget optimistically predicts $4 billion in savings, or 1.5% of total federal spending. If federal departments were able to spend $4 billion less than expected last year without any planning or cuts, then I would suggest we could actually find additional savings within the budget's proposed $4 billion.
Canadians expect nothing less of us, and we should reward their trust by delivering common sense federal spending proposals to utilize taxpayers money effectively and efficiently.
Last week, the Manning institute published research indicating that a vast majority of Canadians, over two-thirds, is becoming less dependent on government. Those Canadians expect less of government, except in core areas such as keeping them safe. Canadians are increasingly more aligned on themselves, their families and volunteer organizations, and becoming less reliant on government. Canadian taxpayers expect government to focus on that which it can do effectively and efficiently.