The popular homeowner's tax credit that ran out in February will not be extended as the Harper government won't add any new spending or tax measures in its March 4 budget, a senior government official says.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty intends to stick to handing out the second year of stimulus-spending cash it announced last year in its 2009 budget - some $19-billion in spending was earmarked for this year.
But it does not intend to extend any of the ones that have already expired like the homeowners' credit, which allowed Canadians to claim up to $1,350 on renovations worth between $1,000 and $10,000, or extend recession-time employment-insurance top-ups.
"I don't anticipate any new spending in budget 2010," said a senior government official who briefed reporters Monday. The official said there will also not be any new tax hikes or tax cuts.
It means the focus for the March 4 budget will shift to the Harper government's plans for cutting the deficit after 2011. The government will use the budget to lay out a multi-year plan for reducing the deficit, which is expected to hit $56-billion this year.
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The government has already signalled that it believes it can balance the books over a number of years by restraining the growth of federal government spending.
But spending on pensions, health care, and education will not be touched, and will be allowed to grow at the projected rapid rate, the government official said.
Everything else - including the military - will be subject to a squeeze in coming years, the official said. That does not mean that budgets in those areas will be cut, but instead they will be curbed so that spending grows slower than projected.