It’s not quite a platform. But the NDP released a “fiscal framework” Wednesday afternoon, outlining how it plans to meet spending commitments while balancing the budget all four years of its possible mandate.
The framework is still quite vague (what does the budget line item “Helping Families Get Ahead” mean, anyway?) but here are some of the major takeaways.
1. Backloaded spending
Although the new revenue sources stay steady year-to-year (between $7.1 billion and 7.7 billion, roughly), the spending goes up quite a bit every year.
2. Two big new revenue sources
Most of the NDP’s new revenue comes from increasing the corporate income tax rate to 17 per cent from 15, and repealing income-splitting and doubled TFSA contribution limits introduced in the Conservatives’ last budget.
3. Much of the new spending is paid for by surpluses already forecast
Between 28 and 42 per cent of the spending each year could be paid for by the surplus already forecast by the Department of Finance – so it doesn’t require the NDP to come up with as much new revenue. Interestingly, the NDP isn’t changing much from the last budget: Aside from repealing income-splitting and the increased TFSA spending limits, they seem to be using the existing budget as a base upon which to add extra spending and revenue measures.
One possible issue with this approach is that if the economy goes as the Parliamentary Budget Officer has predicted, leading to a budget deficit of $100 million in 2016-17, the NDP has a lot less wiggle room, and will have to make up the difference somehow.
The NDP says that they’re going to continue running a surplus every year – $3.1 billion in 2016-17, plus a $1 billion contingency fund, for example. That surplus becomes razor-thin by 2019-20, if you take out the contingency fund: just $37 million.
It’s also worth noting some of the things that seem to be missing from the NDP’s plan, such as a pledge Mulcair made to increase foreign aid to 0.7 of the GDP. The NDP said more details of their plan are yet to be announced.
You can read the full plan below: