Mar 21, 2013

By Michael Kramer

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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is banking that his eighth federal budget will propel the economy forward in a burst sometime next year.

This budget shuffles priorities, re-allocates resources and cracks down on tax cheats but adds no new money while continuing dramatic cuts to direct program expenses.

The centrepiece is a revamped plan for skills training to better align the Canadian workforce with employer needs.

But it won’t kick in until next April and is contingent on negotiations with the provinces, who are expected to foot a third of the bill.

—– Highlights from the federal budget —-

Revenues for 2013-14 forecast at $263.9 billion, spending at $282.6 billion, deficit at $18.7 billion.

Deficit projected to drop to $6.6 billion in 2014-15 and become an $800-million surplus in 2015-16.

Canada Job Grant program will be negotiated with provinces by next year to replace existing $500-million labour market agreements.

Measures will be introduced to improve skills training for the disabled.

New programs will promote apprenticeship.

Two-year extension of an accelerated capital cost allowance to help manufacturers.

Infrastructure spending of $47 billion over 10 years, starting next year.

An improved tax break for families adopting children.

$100 million over two years to support housing construction in Nunavut.

Special tax break for first-time charitable donations to encourage young people to give.

End to tariffs on baby clothes and sports gear, including skates, hockey sticks, skis and golf clubs.

Canadian International Development Agency to be merged with Foreign Affairs.

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