RCC Budget Perspective:
Manitoba’s new Finance Minister Greg Dewar presented a budget with few surprises and maintained the Selinger government’s direction of increasing spending through deficit financing. Government spending will increase 4.5% in 2015, more than double the rate of inflation. Despite claims of making efforts to control spending, Manitoba forecasts a $451 million deficit for 2014/15, which is well above the budgeted $357 million deficit. In 2015/16, the province is projecting a $420 million deficit. The provincial debt is projected to grow to $20.4 billion by 2016.
Despite previous government projections that it would achieve a surplus of $39 million by 2016, the Selinger government has all but abandoned any attempt to bring Manitoba’s finances back into balance. In recent days, the Premier has gone so far as to deny promising to balance Manitoba’s budget, notwithstanding his government having enshrined the commitment in legislation.
The 2015 Manitoba budget papers can be viewed here.
Budget Highlights included:
- The province’s minimum wage will increase to $11.00 on October 1, 2015.
- Increase Tobacco tax by 0.5 cents per cigarette, effective midnight April 30.
- Continue funding the $5.5 billion/5 year infrastructure plan.
- Creating the Youth Jobs Strategy, including more support for paid work and on-the-job training opportunities.
- The caregiver tax credit will increase by 10 per cent so people who care for friends or family can receive benefits of up to $4,200 for each.
- Increase the small business tax threshold to $450,000 on January 1, 2016.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Lanny McInnes, Director, Government Relations (Prairies) at: [email protected] or 204-253-1654