Fol­low lo­cal bud­get plans closely

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - A LOOK AT RECENTLY SOLD HOMES IN AND AROUND WINNIP - By Mike Moore

THE pro­posed pro­vin­cial and City of Win­nipeg bud­gets were re­cently re­leased, each praised in some cir­cles and crit­i­cized in oth­ers.

The pro­vin­cial bud­get was a deficit bud­get, and the gov­ern­ment is in fact pro­ject­ing deficits un­til 2014. That’s a long time, and me­dia editorials have warned that this could de­lay or elim­i­nate new pro­grams such as tax cuts while re­quir­ing in­creased user fees. Win­nipeg city coun­cil ap­proved an op­er­at­ing bud­get on March 23 that once again froze prop­erty taxes.

It’s been sug­gested both bud­gets are elec­tion bud­gets, with a city vote this Oc­to­ber and pro­vin­cial elec­tions a year later.

Given the in­evitabil­ity of in­creased fees and bud­get deficits, it’s in­ter­est­ing to look at what’s go­ing on in other ju­ris­dic­tions and draw com­par­isons.

The U.S. still has a very long road to re­cov­ery. The dol­lar has been fall­ing steadily over the past few months and some are call­ing for it to stay at its cur­rent rate for an ex­tended pe­riod. Em­ploy­ment is likely to be the key to their re­cov­ery.

B.C. and On­tario will be im­ple­ment­ing the Har­mo­nized Sales Tax ef­fec­tive July 1. The en­tire coun­try is anx­iously watch­ing to see the eco­nomic im­pact on the­ses prov­inces and the rest of Canada. Home own­er­ship costs are def­i­nitely go­ing to in­crease. In Nova Sco­tia, the gov­ern­ment which has been in of­fice less than one year is al­ready con­sid­er­ing in­creas­ing its HST by two per cent.

The fed­eral bud­get plans to cut back the deficit by re­duc­ing spending and sup­port­ing eco­nomic growth, while not rais­ing taxes. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Jim Fla­herty ex­pressed con­fi­dence in the hous­ing mar­ket, re­fus­ing to im­ple­ment some sug­ges­tions that would make own­ing a new home more oner­ous.

Un­for­tu­nately, the pop­u­lar Home Ren­o­va­tion Tax Credit will not be con­tin­ued. Bank of Canada gov­er­nor Mark Car­ney has called for a mod­est in­crease in in­ter­est rates in the near fu­ture with a ‘wait-and-see’ at­ti­tude re­gard­ing an­other in­crease in the fall.

So, we’re all well ad­vised to fol­low our lo­cal bud­get plans very closely. We can learn a great deal from neigh­bour­ing cities and prov­inces, both good and bad. Some­times, slow and steady al­lows us to learn from the mis­takes of oth­ers be­fore rush­ing in to be first in line.

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