Prov­ince com­mit­ted to ‘baby bucks’ pro­gram

The Compass - - OPINION -

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has dis­trib­uted some $26 mil­lion in ben­e­fits through its parental ben­e­fits pro­gram since it was es­tab­lished in 2008, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Tom Mar­shall re­ported May 2 in the House of Assem­bly.

The pro­gram con­sists of the Pro­gres­sive Fam­ily Growth Ben­e­fit and the Parental Sup­port Ben­e­fit to help off­set the high costs as­so­ci­ated with the first year of par­ent­ing.

The pro­gram pro­vides $1,000 for ev­ery child born or adopted in the prov­ince as well as an ad­di­tional $100 each month for the first 12 months for the child.

As of April 30, al­most 12,000 ap­pli­cants have availed of the pro­gram, said Mar­shall.

The Parental Ben­e­fits Pro­gram is de­signed so that the ben­e­fits are not tax­able and that any par­ent who gives birth or adopts a child can avail of the pro­gram, re­gard­less of em­ploy­ment sta­tus or in­come.

“I would en­cour­age any­one who has re­cently had or adopted a child and has not al­ready ap­plied for the pro­gram to do so. The dead­line for fil­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion is three years af­ter the baby is born, or in the case of adop­tion, three years af­ter the child has been placed,” Mar­shall ex­plained.

Com­plete de­tails can be found on the Gov­ern­ment of New­found­land and Labrador’s web­site, un­der the Depart­ment of Fi­nance.

Mar­shall said the parental ben­e­fits pro­gram is just one ex­am­ple of the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to put more money back into the hands of the res­i­dents of the prov­ince to spend on what they deem is im­por­tant.

“Res­i­dents are sav­ing in ar­eas such as per­sonal in­come taxes, home en­ergy and in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums. All told, New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans are cur­rently spend­ing ap­prox­i­mately $500 mil­lion less in taxes and fees an­nu­ally as com­pared to 2006,” he said.

“For too long the pop­u­la­tion of this prov­ince was in steady de­cline as res­i­dents left for op­por­tu­ni­ties else­where, but we are fi­nally be­gin­ning to see a re­ver­sal in that trend. A strong, healthy prov­ince is one in which fam­i­lies and chil­dren have an en­vi­ron­ment in which they can thrive.”

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