Archived - Introduction
Canada's economic and fiscal fundamentals are rock solid, yet the world economy is experiencing turbulence and increased uncertainty.
Given this global economic uncertainty, now is the time to act. Our strong fiscal position provides Canada with an opportunity that few other countries have-to make broad-based tax reductions that will strengthen our economy, stimulate investment and create more and better jobs.
Today, the Government is taking bold new steps to build a better Canada. We are reducing taxes further for Canadians and ushering in a new era for Canadian business taxation, while further reducing the federal debt.
This Economic Statement provides a total of $60 billion in broad-based tax relief over this year and the next five years. This brings total tax relief provided by this Government since coming to office to almost $190 billion over the same period.
Canada is the greatest country in the world, a nation of enormous potential built through the imagination and dedication of ordinary Canadians. Canadians expect their Government to build on this legacy by setting clear goals, delivering results, being accountable and putting Canadians and their families first.
Recent Economic Developments and Prospects
- Notwithstanding weakness in the U.S., economic growth in Canada continues to be strong. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 3.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2007, following 3.9 per cent growth in the first quarter.
- Private sector forecasters expect real GDP growth of 2.5 per cent in 2007, 2.4 per cent in 2008 and 2.7 per cent in 2009.
- The private sector forecast for growth in 2007 is up from the 2.3 per cent forecast at the time of the March 2007 budget, balancing stronger-than-expected GDP growth for the first half of the year and weaker growth in the second half.
- As well, GDP inflation has been revised up significantly to 3.3 per cent from 1.5 per cent at the time of the budget.
- Stronger-than-expected growth in the first half of 2007 and higher GDP inflation mean that the level of nominal GDP-the broadest measure of the tax base-is now expected to be close to 1.9 per cent higher in 2007 than forecast at the time of the budget.
- However, the risks to the Canadian economy are tilted to the downside.
- A significantly weaker U.S. housing market and tighter credit conditions have added uncertainty to the U.S. economic outlook.
- The Canadian dollar has traded above parity with the U.S. dollar for the first time in 30 years, due in part to continued increases in commodity prices and generalized U.S.-dollar weakness. This is increasing pressure on our trade sector.
- The Government is determined to act from a position of strength to respond to the growing global uncertainties.
- The strength of the economy over the first half of 2007 has bolstered revenue growth and improved the overall fiscal position of the Government.
- The Government is directing these higher revenues to tax reduction and debt reduction.
- The Government plans to reduce the federal debt by $10 billion this year. This will bring total debt reduction since 2005-06 to over $37 billion, lowering the federal debt burden by about $1,570 per person. The Government will continue to plan on debt reduction of $3 billion in 2008-09 and each year thereafter.
- This also means that the target for reducing the debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio to below 25 per cent will be achieved by
2011-12, three years ahead of the original target date. This will mark the lowest debt burden since the late 1970s.
- The Government's Tax Back Guarantee is ensuring that interest savings resulting from debt reduction are being returned to Canadians in the form of lower personal income taxes. Thanks to achieved and planned debt reduction, the Guarantee will reach $2.5 billion by 2012-13.
- At this time of global economic uncertainty, the Government's strong fiscal position provides Canada with an opportunity that few other countries have-to put in place historic tax reductions that will bolster confidence and encourage investment, while at the same time remaining in a surplus position.
- The tax reductions proposed in this Economic Statement total almost $60 billion over this and the next five years. As a result, the federal tax burden, measured by total federal revenues as a share of the economy, will fall to 15.1 per cent by 2011-12, the lowest ratio in nearly 50 years.
- The Government is managing spending effectively through the new Expenditure Management System introduced this year, ensuring value for money and keeping program expense growth, on average, below the rate of growth of the economy.
- After taking into account the tax and debt reductions proposed in this Statement, the planning surplus is $1.6 billion this year, $1.4 billion next year, $1.3 billion in 2009-10, and then rises to $4.5 billion in 2010-11, $7.2 billion in 2011-12 and $9.8 billion in 2012-13.
Broad-Based Tax Reductions for Canadians
This Economic Statement proposes broad-based tax relief for individuals, families and businesses of almost $60 billion over this and the next five fiscal years. Combined with previous relief provided by this Government, total tax relief over the same period is almost $190 billion.
- To improve productivity, employment and prosperity in an uncertain world, a bold, new tax reduction initiative will reduce the general federal corporate income tax rate to 15 per cent by 2012 from its current rate of 22.1 per cent. The general corporate income tax rate will decline by 7.12 percentage points between 2007 and 2012-giving Canada the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the Group of Seven (G7) by 2011 and the lowest statutory tax rate in the G7 by 2012.
- The Government is seeking the collaboration of the provinces and territories to reach a 25 per cent combined federal-provincial- territorial statutory corporate income tax rate, to make Canada a country of choice for investment.
- To support small business, the reduction in the tax rate to 11% for small business, currently scheduled to be reduced in 2009, will be accelerated to January 1, 2008.
- The goods and services tax (GST) will be reduced by a further 1 percentage point as of January 1, 2008, fulfilling the Government's commitment to reduce the GST to 5 per cent.
- The GST credit for low- and modest-income Canadians will be maintained at its current level even though the GST rate is being reduced. Maintaining the credit, while reducing the GST rate to 5 per cent from 7 per cent, translates into more than $1.1 billion in benefits annually for low- and modest-income Canadians.
- The lowest personal income tax rate will be reduced to 15 per cent from 15.5 per cent, effective January 1, 2007.
- The amount that all Canadians can earn without paying federal income tax will be increased to $9,600 for 2007 and 2008, and to $10,100 for 2009.
- Together, these two measures will reduce personal income taxes for 2007 by more than $400 for a typical two-earner family of four earning $80,000, and by almost $225 for a single worker earning $40,000.
- In order to make businesses even more competitive, it is essential that Employment Insurance rates be reduced for employers and employees. The Employment Insurance Chief Actuary's 2008 Report forecasts the break-even rate in 2008 will decline by 10 cents per $100 of insurable earnings for employers and 7 cents for employees.