It’s a sad month for Canadians who want to renovate their homes. The home renovation tax credit expires at the end of the month and Jim Flaherty has said he won’t renew it.
According to the finance minister, the credit will cost the government $3 billion in 2009, a big number to be sure, but it’s been been a boon to homeowners and the home renovation sector — the Canada Revenue Agency has said at least 3.5 million people have had questions about the program.
It’s unfortunate that Flaherty won’t keep the program running. To have people renovating their homes during the worst financial crisis in decades, and keeping money pumping into the economy, is something the government should be proud of. Money still isn’t flowing freely, people are still out of work and everyone’s still thinking twice (or they should be) about emptying their wallets on a renovation project. If he doesn’t extend the credit, then I suspect there’s a good chance people will put off that bathroom fix until the economy really does stabilize.
Maybe we’ll get a surprise in the budget, but if the Conservatives are going to be as strict with their spending as they seem to be saying they will be, then those renovations may have to wait until you’ve got some money to burn.