On May 31, 2016, your new PC Government delivered its first budget.
Budget 2016 delivers upon our commitments to protect front-line services while eliminating wasteful government spending and putting Manitoba back on a responsible fiscal track.
Unlike Selinger’s NDP, which ran constant deficits which burdened Manitobans with high debt and high taxes, our PC government believes that a stronger economy is the best pathway to better services for Manitobans.
We must return Manitoba to fiscal balance to avoid further downgrades to the province’s credit rating, which would have devastating consequences to Manitoba’s already-fragile bottom line. Budget 2016 pursues measures which will responsibly restore Manitoba to fiscal balance in eight years, while engaging the innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit of Manitoba’s best and brightest.
Budget 2016 includes no new taxes or tax increases and will not draw from the Fiscal Stabilization Fund.
This budget includes:
- indexing of the basic personal exemption as of Jan. 1, 2017;
- indexing of income tax brackets to the rate of inflation; and
- continued education tax relief for Manitoba seniors through the Seniors’ School Tax Rebate.
Our new PC government is committed to making Manitoba the most improved province in Canada. Budget 2016 focuses on investments in programs and initiatives most important to supporting Manitoba families: improving front-line services in health care and education, and partnering with business and community leaders to create innovative economic opportunities and better jobs.
Budget 2016 provides for:
- a $220-million (3.8 per cent) increase in funding for health care over the current core government 2015-16 forecast to support ACCESS centres, health-care centres and hospitals in Winnipeg and rural Manitoba, the provincial oncology drug program and other important health-care services;
- a $37-million (1.4 per cent) increase in funding for education and training over the current core government 2015-16 forecast including a 2.55 per cent increase in funding for schools to support initiatives in early years reading, new schools, resources for at-risk and Indigenous students, the full implementation of the masters of social worker – Indigenous knowledge program at the University of Manitoba, and operating increases of 2.5 per cent for universities and two per cent for colleges;
- increased provincial contribution to new construction, improvement and maintenance costs through the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation; support for early learning and child care;
- increased resources for the victims of crime;
- additional resources to provide supports for Syrian refugees; and
- $1.8 billion for strategic infrastructure funding for roads and bridges, flood protection, hospitals, schools, universities and colleges, as well as municipal infrastructure, and the tools necessary for the creation of a single access point for municipal programming within the provincial government.
“We have set a target of achieving balance within eight years by pursuing measures that will responsibly address the unsustainable trajectory of spending increases while ensuring the protection of front-line services for all Manitobans.”
- Minister of Finance Cameron Friesen.
Budget 2016 reduces Manitoba’s core deficit by $122 million - a 12% improvement over the 2015-16 forecast. It will keep our promise to conduct a value-for-money review as well as a review into government tendering that look within government for further savings.
The challenges facing Manitoba are significant and cannot be overstated. In order to allow the time necessary to carefully correct Manitoba’s fiscal course, balanced budget legislation will be suspended. This will be accomplished by repealing the current Balanced Budget, Fiscal Management and Taxpayer Accountability Act and replacing it in Budget 2017 with proposed legislation that would provide Manitoba taxpayers with enforceable protection including the restoration of their right to vote on major tax increases.