Friday, March 9, 2007

NDP budget wish list

NDP issues '07 budget wish list
STEVEN CHASE Globe and Mail March 9

The federal NDP will release today a laundry list of measures it wants to see in the minority Harper government's March 19 budget, kicking off public negotiations over what it will take to win the party's support for the Conservative fiscal plan.

The party is warning the Tories it will oppose a reduction in capital gains taxes and further tax cuts for "large corporations."

"Tax cuts like these provide no benefit to the economy while depriving revenues and damaging public services," NDP finance critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis wrote in a letter to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

The Conservatives will need the support of one opposition party to pass their budget and, notwithstanding disagreements over tax cuts, the NDP has sometimes proved a willing partner.

Not surprisingly, the NDP letter also suggests areas where the New Democrats and Tories can agree.

The NDP is calling for incentives to help low-income Canadians leave welfare and enter the work force and for more funding for postsecondary education that improves affordability of and accessibility to higher learning.

Mr. Flaherty has been promising more postsecondary money in the 2007 budget since May of 2006.

Other proposals include:

An end to a special tax break for the oil sands that allows some firms to write off investments quickly.

Rebates for fuel-efficient cars.

Increases to seniors' monthly Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Energy efficiency home retrofits for low-income families.

A national disability income-support program.

Accelerated recognition of foreign credentials of skilled workers.

Funding for child care.

Establishment of a federal minimum wage of $10 an hour.