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House Democrats unveil budget plan with tax hikes, immigration reform

WASHINGTON - House Democrats have unveiled their response to Rep. Paul Ryan's GOP budget, and it relies on a $1.5 trillion in new revenues over the coming 10 years and the economic benefits of immigration reform to make the numbers work.

Republican Ryan's budget sets political course for party in 2014

By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, the leading Republican voice on budget policy, rolled out a fiscal blueprint on Tuesday that calls for deep cuts in domestic programs, increased defense spending and a goal of erasing annual deficits within a decade.

No personal or business tax increases in stay-the-course Manitoba budget

WINNIPEG - The Manitoba government has tabled a cautious budget that contains no personal or business tax increases for the first time in three years. Even smokers are getting a rare year off. The budget caps spending growth, while making small investments in child care, rental assistance and small business. The 2014-15 fiscal plan contains a few nuggets aimed at wooing the middle-class, including a low-cost loan to help people buy winter tires and $5.5 million to boost child-care spaces.

With 2015 budget, Pentagon looks beyond Afghanistan

By David Alexander and Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon unveiled a $496 billion base budget on Tuesday that shifts the United States from its war-footing for the first time in a dozen years, cutting the size of the military to pay for training and new weapons systems in an era of tighter spending.

South Africa presents cautious budget despite elections

South Africa's government presented a restrained budget on Wednesday which largely sticks to existing spending limits even though voters are clamouring for election-year spending. The state of South African public finances is under the spotlight of credit ratings agencies, however. "Our present circumstances oblige us to live and spend modestly and keep a careful balance between social expenditure and support for growth," finance minister Pravin Gordhan told parliament.

Australian government plans to sell $117 billion in assets to ease budget squeeze

CANBERRA, Australia - Australia plans to raise up to $117 billion from sales of state assets, the finance minister said Thursday, as the government tries to bridge a gaping budget deficit. The announcement comes after the International Monetary Fund highlighted the challenge Australia faces to return its budget to surplus in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The task has been made harder by tax revenue falling short of expectations as a mining boom cooled.

US government budget deficit drops 36.6 per cent through first 4 months of budget year

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government's deficit through the first four months of this budget year is down 36.6 per cent from a year ago, signalling further improvement in the nation's finances. The Treasury Department says the deficit for January was $10.4 billion. For the period from October through January, it totals $184 billion. That is down $106.4 billion from the same period a year ago and puts the country on track for a further improvement in the budget deficit.

Budget squeeze continues but federal deficit all but gone this year: Flaherty

OTTAWA - The Conservative government continues to ratchet in the iron corset that will squeeze an eye-catching election-year surplus for the Canadian body politic. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's 10th federal budget all but balances the books this fiscal year, leaving a negligible $2.9-billion shortfall heading into the 2015-16 election year — when Prime Minister Stephen Harper will go to the electorate sporting a surplus that could exceed $6 billion.

Budget forces Canadian military to stow equipment shopping list until 2016

OTTAWA - The badly needed new equipment on the Canadian military's shopping list may end up becoming a wish list over the next three years after Tuesday's federal budget pushed $3.1 billion in planned capital spending off into the distant future. The reallocation and delay outlined in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's fiscal plan puts in writing a contraction in military spending that has been evident in defence circles for a number of years — and which the Conservatives have been keen to play down.

Federal budget offers some help for apprentices, broadband access: minister

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Newfoundland and Labrador Finance Minister Charlene Johnson says the good news about Tuesday's federal budget is there's no bad news. "In terms of an impact on the revenues for the province, there's no negative impact," she told reporters outside the legislature. "In fact, there's a slight positive impact to the tune of about $1.9 million."
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