Home Tax Credit Safe Despite Election Threat: Liberals Promise to Keep Popular Measure if Elected

The Harper government introduced the tax credit as part of the January budget. It was designed to give the home renovation and construction sector a boost during the economic downturn.

Conservatives Argue Home Tax Credit Threatened By Election

The Conservatives introduced the Home Renovation/Repair tax credit as part of the January budget. The credit, good for work and supplies done between Jan. 27th, 2009, and February 1st, 2010 allows Canadians to get up to $1,350 back on work done while renovating or repairing homes or cottages. It’s proven to be one of the more popular measures included in the budget, and is forecast to cost $3 billion over the next five years.

The tax credit wasn’t approved by parliament in the original budget implementation bill last march in order to give Revenue Canada time to adjust its policies. It’s expected to pass in a separate bill sometime this Fall, which, could be derailed in the event of a federal election.

The tax credit plays a part in the argument against the election for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In comments published by the Montreal Gazette, he restated his government’s commitment to the home renovation/repair tax credit: “This government is committed to that tax credit. It’s a good idea, and I would encourage all political parties to support it, and those that have supported it in the past, to continue to support it.”

Harper added his government would continue with the tax credit regardless of an election.

Liberals Say They’ll Keep Renovation/Repair Tax If Elected

The opposition Liberals accuse the Harper government of using the possible elimination of the tax credit to fear-monger. Spokespeople for leader Michael Ignatieff have committed the party to keeping if elected.

Toronto area Member of Parliament (MP) Bob Rae reaffirmed his party’s support. In comments published by the Canadian Press, he assured Canadians no matter what party forms a government, they’ll end up keeping it: “Those tax credits will be recognized by whoever the government is in 2010.”

Other unapproved measures include an increased benefit for first-time homebuyers, as well as a proposed increase to the workers income tax benefit. These measures are supposed to be introduced as part of a second budget implementation bill. Some media reports suggest the Conservatives will introduce it as early as September 14th; the first day of the Parliament’s fall session in an attempt to engineer their own defeat.

The Conservative Government, being a minority one, any financial bills are considered confidence matters. If all three opposition parties vote against the government, it will mean another election.