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The government’s budget surplus in March, after rising by almost $20 billion a month for more than two years, has finally become a reality.
At a packed press conference, Finance Minister Joe Oliver said an additional $12.7 billion was raised by taxes and by cuts to programs, which will be announced in the coming weeks.
The surplus is now projected to rise to $18.7 billion by 2017-18, the first time taxpayers have seen a deficit smaller than $10 billion. The fiscal year 2017-18 is scheduled to run from March 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016.
READ MORE: ‘Saddled with debt’ to repay to lenders: Federal treasurer
The announcement came in Toronto as the federal government revealed what it calls a more aggressive “revenue-neutral” policy, which requires its budget to be balanced despite revenues rising.
“I think it’s pretty clear that we have been moving in this direction — not just with income tax, but with all forms of income taxes,” Oliver told reporters at Canada’s largest trade show.
“So what we’ve done is we’ve actually changed the tax base to take into account the fact that our tax system is so complex, it’s hard to know where the revenue for any one sector is coming from. We wanted to use the revenue we’ve already collected to make sure we could get our fiscal house in order.”
The Liberal government introduced the revenue-neutral plan in response to a challenge that had been made to all countries to do the same by 2015, at which time the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had to start a competition to decide which country would do the most. The country
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