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How does the provincial budget compare with the Coalition's recommendations

This year again, members of the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity participated actively in the Provincial prebudget consultations held by the Minister of Finance. Here is a brief overview of some elements of the 2013-2014 budget and how they compare to our recommendations.
 
1. Pay equity for child care, transition homes and home care
 
The Coalition recommended that pay equity adjustments for the three private sector groups which completed a pay equity exercise with the government (child care, transition houses and home care) be retroactive to April 2012 and indexed according to inflation. The Coalition reiterated the need to improve the methodology used to evaluate the pay equity adjustments. 
 
The budget speech made no specific mention of pay equity. However, according to elected officials the government of New Brunswick will honour its commitment to increase pay equity provisions by $6.4 million for the public sector and in the four private sector groups with pay equity programs. New investments in early childhood development were announced.
 
2. Pay equity for community residences
 
The Coalition reminded the finance minister that pay equity adjustments for community residences were expected to begin in 2013-2014.
 
The budget includes additional funding for community residences.
 
3. Pay Equity Bureau
 
The Coalition recommended that more funding be allocated to the Pay Equity Office responsible for the application of the Pay Equity Act, 2009.
 
The budgetfor the Women’s Issues Branch, within which the Pay Equity Office is located, went down from $3 098 000 (revised budget for 2012-2013) to $3 074 000[1].
 
4. Income tax
 
In response to the deficit problem, the Coalition supported the position of the Common Front for Social Justice (CFSJ) regarding government revenues. It rejected an increase of sales taxes because it is regressive, i.e. lower income citizens would spend a larger proportion of their income in taxes than would higher income earners. This is an important issue for women, who earn much less than men, on average.
 
The Coalition, like the CFSJ, favoured returning to the 2008 progressive personal tax rates (see table 1); adding a personal income level bracket of over $150 000 with a tax level of 21%; returning to the 2008 corporate tax rates (13%) and to the 2011 rates for small and medium businesses (5%).
 
The budget went half way. Personal income tax levels will return to the 2006 level (see table 1). Corporate tax rates will increase to 12%.
 
Table 1. Tax rates in 2008, 2012 and starting July 1st 2013
2008 Income Brackets
2008 Tax Rates
 
2012 Income Brackets
2012 Tax Rates
2013 Income Brackets
July 1st 2013 Tax Rates[2]
0 to $34 836
10,12%
0 to $38 190
9,1%
0 to $38 954
9,68%
34 836 to $69 673
15,48%
38 190 to $76 380
12,1%
38 954 to $77 908
14,82%
69 673 to $113 273
16,80%
76 380 to $124 178
12,4%
77 908 to $126662
16,52%
> $113 273
17,95%
> $124 178
14,3%
> $126 662
17,84%
 
5. New mechanism to ensure the voice of women
 
The Coalition asked for a new mechanism to replace the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, which was abolished in 2011.
 
While the Minister responsible for Women’s Issues says she will announce her decision soon, there was no specific mention in the budget speech.
 
6. Special care homes and specialized care beds
 
The budget includes additional funding for special care homes and specialized care beds.
 
The Coalition believes this funding should be tied to pay equity but there is no pay equity program for this group.
 
 


[1] New Brunswick Government, 2013-2014 Budget, March 26th 2013.
[2] Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon. 2013. “Higgs hikes personal, corporate taxes in budget”. CBC News. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2013/03/26/nb-budget-income-corporate-taxes.html (page consulted March 27 2013).

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