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Putting money to work

Billions of dollars in tax breaks for the middle class, including incentives for home renovations, are expected to be unveiled today as the Conservatives seek to maximize a bang for the buck in their big-spending budget.

Billions of dollars in tax breaks for the middle class, including incentives for home renovations, are expected to be unveiled today as the Conservatives seek to maximize a bang for the buck in their big-spending budget.

The tax cuts will highlight a massive economic bailout plan with tens of billions of dollars in new federal spending and tax measures, $2 billion in help for the jobless, cash for the auto industry, $7 billion for urban reconstruction and measures to free up consumer and business loans.

The government is planning a series of tax initiatives, which will include incentives for home renovations to revive the building trades during the recession.

“Some of those tax initiatives will involve getting money in consumers’ pockets, so that ordinary people — working-class people, middle-class people — can spend money. These will also be affordable, good tax reductions for the long term,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper told CTV yesterday.

Broad-based tax cuts, however, are risky for the Conservative minority government, which is under threat of defeat from the opposition parties. The Liberals, who hold the key to the Harper Tories’ survival, have said they will try to vote down the government if the budget slashes income taxes. The Liberals argue that tax cuts are ineffective as an economic stimulus tool and could saddle Ottawa with perpetual budget shortfalls.

Harper said it’s important that today’s budget provides help for “the broad, middle class that pays the freight in this country” so the middle class “also participates in the economic recovery.”

 
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