Will be 'listening very intently' to federal budget, Cathy Bennett says
Infrastructure, housing among issues on finance minister's list
With Newfoundland and Labrador facing a possible deficit of more than $2 billion, the provincial government will be paying close attention to Tuesday's federal budget.
"I'll be listening very intently," Finance Minister Cathy Bennett said Monday, adding that the province has made its wish list clear in Ottawa.
"I'm sure there's lots of information that will be very interesting to us as part of the federal budget," said Bennett, who is still drafting the province's own economic strategy for the coming year.
"I look forward to seeing what the federal government feels is appropriate as part of their budget process to provide some stimulus to the economy … We've been having dialogue since since December with the federal government on a variety of issues," Bennett said.
In January, the federal government earmarked $10 billion over two years to repair infrastructure across the country.
Bennett said she'll be keeping an ear out to hear how much Newfoundland and Labrador will receive from that fund, as what federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau allocates will influence the provincial budget.
"We certainly need to have that information as part of our budget process," Bennett said.
New tax credits
Another topic Bennett will be listening for: "The new tax credits that the federal government is going to put in place."
One such credit is the Canada Child Benefit.
The plan is set to replace Harper's host of child benefit programs, including the Universal Child Care Benefit. Exact details of the new system have not been released but could emerge Tuesday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the benefit will be tax-free and will be tied to income.
His benefit program will come into effect this July.
One issue the provincial and federal governments have been discussing is housing.
"The current government in Ottawa has made some commitments to our province around housing," said Bennett.
"Certainly we'd like to hear some [details] on that."
While campaigning for last fall's federal election, Trudeau announced his party's housing plan. It included $20 billion to be spent over 10 years, and tax incentives for developers and landlords to build and renovate rental units.
Tuesday's budget may reveal how much of that will be set aside for the province.
Meanwhile, a provincial budget date hasn't been set yet. The only hint Bennett will give is that it'll come after the federal budget.