BUSINESS
10/30/2014 03:44 EDT | Updated 10/30/2014 03:59 EDT

Harper's Boutique Tax Cuts Will Help Families With Kids Under 18

COLE BURSTON via Getty Images
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses media alongside Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (not pictured) during a joint press conference in Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canda on June 9, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ Cole BURSTON (Photo credit should read Cole Burston/AFP/Getty Images)

OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper is pressing ahead with income splitting for families with kids under 18 -- a multibillion-dollar Conservative election promise from 2011 that critics have said would benefit too few Canadians.

Harper says the Conservative government is also boosting the universal child care benefit -- $160 a month for kids under six, up from $100, plus a new monthly benefit of $60 for children aged six through 17, effective in 2015.

The so-called "Family Tax Cut'' will allow an eligible taxpayer to transfer up to $50,000 of income to his or her spouse for tax purposes in order to collect a non-refundable tax credit of up to $2,000 per year.

Those two measures together will cost $3.1 billion in 2014-15 and $4.5 billion in 2015-16.

The Conservatives made the income-splitting promise during the 2011 election campaign, but it was contingent on the federal books being balanced.

Harper has said the federal deficit in the past fiscal year would be $5.2 billion, a fraction of the $16.6 billion forecast, but insisted there won't be a surplus until next year.

More coming...