Federal budget could include corporate, wealthy taxes amid new spending, expert says

By Cormac Mac Sweeney

The federal government is set to unveil its budget on Tuesday, and along with billions in spending promises already made, experts are predicting the fiscal plan will come with more taxes.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has been vowing to stick within her fiscal guard rails despite piling up the spending commitments on housing and affordability.

The finance minister has said they will not hit the middle class with taxes in the upcoming budget but hasn’t ruled it out for other groups.

Robert Asselin, senior vice-president of policy at the Business Council of Canada and a former advisor to ex-finance minister Bill Morneau, predicts either a new windfall tax for large companies, larger corporate taxes, or a wealth tax on rich individuals.

“Because the government is unable to restrain itself on spending, it is obvious to me that they will raise taxes,” he told 680 News Radio Toronto on Monday.

Asselin said targeting companies will hurt productivity and the economy, and those costs will just be downloaded onto the consumer anyway.

He added they could also look to pair that with cuts or by deferring other planned spending.

“When you do that kind of stuff, a shell game, you push still structural spending in the out years, in future years, and the bill remains for other governments or other future generations to pick up later, and that’s not good,” Asselin said.

He also noted that the federal government has to be careful with spending in this budget because they don’t want to be the reason why the Bank of Canada avoids an interest rate cut, which could come as early as June.

The budget will be tabled at 4 p.m. ET and you can watch live coverage on CityNews 24/7.

With files from the Canadian Press

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