Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oils well that ends well

Compare the following...

Those who go with the flow...


Soaring high on the stratospheric price of oil, Alberta will spend a record $37 billion this fiscal year to build, build, build and give residents a break on taxes and health-care premiums.

It will also spend money to prime the pump for high-tech investment.

Saskatchewan's new government on Wednesday projected a C$250 million ($248 million) budget surplus for 2008-09 despite higher spending as the Canadian Prairie province reaps rewards from its booming energy and agriculture industries.

Newfoundland - Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador used a gusher of oil-based revenues Tuesday to slash its debt, cut taxes and bolster spending on health, roads and other public services.

And those who don't...

Ontario budget funds modest tax cuts, retraining program

Duncan's provincial budget released Tuesday outlines a three-year, $1.5 billion plan to help train more apprentices, boost financial aid for students and help retrain 20,000 unemployed Ontarians. It also includes business tax cuts worth $750 million over four years, including a retroactive cut to the capital tax that Duncan says will immediately give manufacturers $190 million.

Duncan defied a demand from his federal counterpart Jim Flaherty to sharply cut corporate taxes in the wake of grim economic forecasts.

He says his government has chosen a more comprehensive plan to cope with the slowdown.

That includes boosting spending on health care by six per cent to more than $40 billion in 2008-09 — a move Duncan says will help Ontario attract business investment.

The budget also includes a previously announced $1 billion plan to help municipalities fix aging roads and bridges and improve transit systems in greater Toronto and Hamilton.

But a projected $600 million budget surplus falls short of the threshold the government said was needed in order to be able to share the wealth with municipalities.

Related... Hows that "more comprehensive plan" working out so far?
A report by the TD Bank Financial Group handed residents of Ontario a rather dire prediction on Tuesday.

Their province may soon achieve "have-not" status.

British Columbia
British Columbians will be paying more at the fuel pump and less at tax time under a new carbon tax on all fossil fuels unveiled Tuesday as part of the Liberal government's budget.

The balanced budget, introduced by Finance Minister Carole Taylor in the legislature in Victoria, forecasts a total revenue of $38.5 billion and total government expense of $37.7 billion in 2008-09.

The surplus for this budget year is projected to be $50 million, while last year's figure was $2 billion.

QUEBEC–Premier Jean Charest's minority government secured its survival yesterday by tabling a ho-hum budget that tried to offset a grim financial outlook with crumbs left in the province's cupboard.

The government will spend $12.2 billion in the 2008-09 budget year and projects revenue of $12.3 billion, leaving a surplus of $96 million. It will apply $110 million to its debt of $11.1 billion.

Total spending is up $395 million.

Selinger is dipping into the province's fiscal stabilization fund to put an extra $47 million into healthcare to reduce wait times and enhance other health-related programming. He will also take $13 million from the fund to put into ecoTrust funds, as promoted by Ottawa, leaving $643 million in the kitty.
$10 million in fee increases

There weren't many goodies for taxpayers, who are facing myriad fee increases on everything from vehicle registration to fishing licences. The fee increases are expected to bring an extra $9.6 million into provincial coffers.

Prince Edward Island
The 2008-09 budget forecasts a deficit of almost $35 million in the coming year, a slight improvement over last year's deficit of almost $37 million. The back-to-back deficits - unusual in Canada these days - will boost the net debt in Canada's smallest province to an all-time high of $1.4 billion.

It means that every man, woman and child living in the "Garden of the Gulf" owes roughly $10,140.

New Brunswick
The New Brunswick government introduced a modest, balanced budget with no tax changes on Tuesday, but it served notice that a major overhaul is in the works for the province's tax system.

The $7.1 billion budget for 2008-09, introduced by Finance Minister Victor Boudreau, forecasts a $19-million surplus.

There are spending increases for education, health and social services but all government departments have been ordered to cut administrative costs in an effort to shave $15 million from government expenditures.

"We are mindful of the challenges facing our economy, particularly in light of the U.S. slowdown and the high Canadian dollar," Boudreau said in his budget speech in the legislature.

"This is reflected in our revenue forecast."

Revenues are expected to grow by $185.4 million, or 2.7 per cent from 2007-08.

The province's net debt is also expected to grow - to $7.1 billion by 2009. The total represents a roughly $500 million increase over 2007, largely due to soaring capital costs for highway improvements.

It means that every man, woman and child in New Brunswick owes about $9,500 for the net debt.

There are no tax increases and no tax cuts in the new budget.

In Boudreau's first budget last year, New Brunswickers were stunned by an array of across-the-board tax increases for individuals and businesses that abruptly ended years of cautious tax cuts by the previous Conservative administration.

Nova Scotia
The $8.5-billion budget is balanced — for the seventh consecutive time — but it provides only a smattering of spending and marginal tax breaks for groups such as students, public transit riders and search and rescue volunteers.

All told, Nova Scotians will pay $105-million less in taxes, with about one third of that coming from a previously announced decrease in corporate taxes.

The province's finance minister, Michael Baker, said he had to take a cautious approach in his fourth budget.

"Our spending choices are strategic," he said in a speech to the legislature as the budget was tabled. "They are prudent."

Mr. Baker noted that Nova Scotia's most important exports, including fish, forest products and natural gas, are mostly being sold to a struggling U.S. market and the strength of the Canadian dollar hasn't helped.

"Nova Scotia exports will face challenges from the U.S. slowdown, exchange rates and pressures from rising energy and wage costs," he said.

Meanwhile, corporate profits are expected to fall, and the population will decline, resulting in a decrease in transfers from Ottawa. The province expects to get 34 per cent of its budget from federal sources.(emphasis mine)

However, the modest spending commitments mean the province's debt will shrink less than one per cent to $12.3 billion — that's over $13,000 for everyone in the province.

I know where I want to be for the next few years as the economy regains some traction. I will go with the FLOW...


Gayle said...

It looks like in Canada, Tim, Alberta is definitely the place to be. There's some doubt that America will be able to enjoy oil from the Alberta Oil Sands - a fact that ticks me off to no end! I did a post about it awhile back. I don't know if the bill has been repealed or not, but if not, we down here in the US are going to be really hurting. What am I talking about? We're already hurting!

Please read it if you have the time.

Gayle said...

Sorry, you'll have to copy and paste it. I know how to leave a hot link in HaloScan, but not in Blogger.

Tim said...

Thanks for poppin by.

Personally I am not too worried about it. Trans Canada pipelines just announced it is investing Billions in a new pipeline to refineries in the southern USA, Texas, if I am not mistaken. They would not be doing that if they did not think it was a worth while investment. They must know something the rest of us don't...yet!

Will check out your post...