Conservatives delay billions in infrastructure spending, pledge balance in 5 years
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, October 11, 2019 3:20PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 11, 2019 7:03PM EDT
The Conservatives are promising to balance the federal budget within five years by delaying billions of dollars' worth of federal infrastructure spending, levying a tax on tech giants, forcing tobacco companies to pay for anti-smoking campaigns and finding ways to cut billions of dollars in spending.
The savings would help fund $6.2-billion in new spending and forgone revenue next year.
It's largely in the form of tax cuts and tax credits, but also includes some big-ticket items like MRI machines and support for businesses that help curb greenhouse-gas emissions overseas.
Under a Conservative government, spending and forgone revenue - things that make the government's fiscal balance worse - would increase by $11.4 billion by 2024-2025, driven largely by the Tories' signature “universal tax cut,” which lowers the tax rate for income under $47,630 to 13.75 per cent from 15 per cent.
The party says they'll cover some of that by spreading the Liberal government's massive 187-billion-dollar infrastructure commitment over 15 years instead of 12, but they will follow through on existing infrastructure commitments.
The tax on tech giants will be a three per cent levy on revenues from companies that provide social media platforms, search engines, or online marketplaces.
The single biggest measure to improve the books would be cuts to government spending, projected to reach five-billion worth of savings in the fifth year of the Tory forecast.
The Conservatives say they'd be taking a knife to consultant costs, scaling back travel and hospitality and selling federal real estate, among other measures, but they say they will maintain the number of civil servants at existing levels.
The 103-page document is largely made up of spending promises that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has made over the first few weeks of the campaign or in a series of speeches he made earlier in the summer.