The C.D. Howe Institute today released its 2011 federal Shadow Budget with a five-step plan to end the flow of red ink in Ottawa ahead of the government’s five-year timeline. In A Faster Track to Fiscal Balance: the 2011 Shadow Budget authors William Robson, CEO of the Institute, and Alexandre Laurin, Associate Director of Research, show how Ottawa can return to budget surpluses in four years through more ambitious spending restraint and accelerate growth-friendly fiscal reforms. 

This faster track to budget surplus, say the authors, will position the federal government to launch new tax and spending initiatives around mid-decade, while protecting Canadians from possible debt-market disruptions arising from sovereign-debt concerns, and putting federal debt back on a downward track before the pressure of population aging on government finances intensifies. 

The Shadow Budget presents a five-point plan for return to fiscal balance: (I) Seeing Budget 2010 Measures Through; (II) Restraining Federal Public Service Compensation Costs; (III) Tackling the Cost of Ottawa’s Employee Pension Plans; (IV) Trimming Transfers to Crown Corporations; and (V) Reviewing Tax Preferences. 

Besides protecting Canadians from adverse consequences of chronic federal borrowing, say the authors, this accelerated track to surplus sets the stage for further economic and fiscal gains, such as prolonging eligibility for tax-deferred saving, a phase-out of trade barriers and cartels in agricultural goods, tax relief for travelers and international investors, and better tax treatment of related businesses. 

The study is available at:  http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/Commentary_320.pdf 

For more information contact:          William Robson, President and CEO, or

                                                                        Alexandre Laurin, Associate Director of Research,

                                                                        C.D. Howe Institute, 416-865-1904;

                                                                        Email: [email protected].