Our Manitoba government is taking action to ensure the sustainability of our province’s financial future, with a commitment to restoring prudent fiscal management following the decade of debt under the tax and spend NDP.
We are continuing with a thorough value-for-money audit of departments across government, and have introduced legislation to set clear rules for managing government budgets.
Our new Fiscal Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act requires real progress toward balanced budgets through progressively smaller deficits, and includes pay cuts for cabinet ministers who fail to achieve legislated deficit-reduction targets. In fact, this legislation includes an immediate withholding of 20 per cent of pay until progress is shown in the next audited public accounts.
Despite this commitment by our Progressive Conservative government to smart and accountable fiscal management, the NDP continue to mislead Manitobans about our government’s actions.
The fact is we have abided by the balanced budget legislation we put in place when we balanced the budget during our previous time in government. The fact is that the NDP cabinet ministers gave themselves a raise of more than $1 million by gutting the balanced-budget law to remove penalties we had put in place for governments that increased debt and deficits. The fact is we are being paid precisely what an independent commissioner has set for cabinet salaries – nothing more, nothing less.
The balanced budget law required their cabinet ministers to take a 20% reduction in pay if they ran a deficit, and a 40 per cent pay cut if they ran a deficit for a second year. The NDP changed the law in 2010 to avoid paying the full penalty they would otherwise have been required to pay. As a result they avoided penalties for six years, pocketing more than $1 million in additional pay for their cabinet ministers. All of this while they were doubling the provincial debt and raising taxes on Manitobans at a record level. And now they expect our cabinet to be held accountable for their inadequacies and failures.
Our new Fiscal Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act closes the loopholes that the NDP created and restores performance-based measures to protect taxpayers from the kind of irresponsible spending that resulted in the NDP doubling Manitoba’s debt in just eight years.
The NDP gave themselves a pay raise by gutting the balanced budget law. True to form, they continue to spread false stories in an attempt to mislead Manitobans. Manitobans will never forget their promise in 2011 that they were not going to raise the PST, and doing precisely that once they were elected.
Unlike the NDP, our government is accountable and, with every member of our caucus voluntarily freezing their MLA wages until the next election, we are leading by example.
The difference is clear, and Manitobans understand it. They expect financial accountability from their government, and that is exactly what we are delivering.