MP prepares to send local budget feedback to Flaherty

A public pre-budget consultation has generated great ideas on how money can be spent but also on how it can be saved, says the local MP.

Dean Del Mastro released a report of 55 recommendations that came out of a pre-budget consultation held Feb. 4.

About 25 people, including manufacturers, farmers, officials from post-secondary institution, municipal politicians, an emergency shelter operator and the head of a local museum, took part in the five-hour meeting that featured presentations from various groups.

The participants represented "all walks of life," Del Mastro said.

"A lot of them brought very responsible suggestions. Basically saying 'we understand where we're at money wise,'" he said.

"A lot of them were making recommendations not just were you could spend but also ways to save money. I thought it was just a tremendous forum. We'll do it again."

The report is broken into the five headings of the Conservatives' Economic Action Plan -- "reducing the tax burden for Canadians," "helping the unemployed," "building infrastructure to create jobs," and "creating the economy of tomorrow."

Del Mastro said a copy of the report was sent to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who will present the budget on March 4.

He said perhaps he should have an open forum to discuss the budget once it's released.

Pre-budget consultations are being held across the country, Del Mastro said.

Some of the highlights include long-term care and homelessness issues, continuing the Home Renovation Tax Credit, help for farmers and taxes.

"If we can assist people and help them stay in their homes longer that's a savings to government and that's really how it was being presented. It's a major quality of life issue as well," Del Mastro said.

"Certainly I think all of (the recommendations) will be considered but what is ultimately considered, I have never known ahead of (the budget being announced)," he said.

Parliament will resume with a throne speech on March 3.

Del Mastro also held pre-budget consultations last year for the 2009 federal budget.

NOTE:The report will be available online at www.deandelmastro.ca.

Highlights

Highlights from the pre-budget consultation report and recommendations

-Job creation of positions to aid in long term care needs can go hand in hand with the need for long term care facilities as well as opening spaces at the hospital

-Extend the Home Renovation Tax Credit or replace it with an alternate tax credit that will serve to stimulate the same response from the public

-The homeless and poor population have complex needs, throwing money into a general shelter system will not work -these people cannot keep accommodations due to various needs

-A business risk management program is needed for agriculture and as well as a 10 year policy

-Be prepared to fund municipals infrastructure directly

-Some attention needs to be given to Veterans Affairs

Posted By FIONA ISAACSON , EXAMINER STAFF WRITER

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