Manitoba Daily

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Manitoba’s budget proposes tax cuts and increased health-care investment

Manitoba's budget includes tax cuts and increased health-care investment

Key Takeaways:

  • The Manitoba government’s annual budget proposes several tax cuts and support for the province’s healthcare system, which has been severely impacted by COVID-19.
  • When the healthcare system is stressed, and deficits persist, Finance Minister Cameron Friesen suggested that the government may lower taxes.
  • Except for a small surplus in 2020, Manitoba hasn’t had a balanced budget since 2008 and isn’t expecting one until 2028.

The Manitoba government’s yearly budget proposes a variety of tax cuts as well as assistance to a healthcare system that has been hit hard by COVID-19.

The government intends to increase the school tax rebate for residential and farm properties from 25% to 37.5 percent, saving the average homeowner $196 per year.

Renters will be eligible for a comparable tax credit extended to more people, including those living in social housing.

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The Conservatives have already agreed to phase out the school levy over several years, though at a slower pace than former premier Brian Pallister had proposed before stepping down last year and being replaced by Heather Stefanson.

Following two previous cuts in recent years, the government is considering lowering annual registration rates for most non-commercial vehicles by another $10.

Some businesses may benefit from the province’s decision to raise the threshold for employers to pay a payroll tax to $2 million from $1.75 million in total salary.

Finance Minister Cameron Friesen stated that the government might reduce taxes when the healthcare system is under strain and deficits persist.

Manitoba's budget includes tax cuts and increased health-care investment
Manitoba’s budget includes tax cuts and increased health-care investment. Image from CBC

“We just don’t think it’s fair to have Manitobans wait.” We believe they are in desperate need of assistance right now. “They’re in desperate need of affordability right now,” Friesen remarked.

The province has pledged $9 million to improve intensive care unit capacity in health care. During the COVID-19 epidemic, Manitoba’s ICU bed shortage was so severe that dozens of patients were transported to neighboring provinces to free up beds.

The government has also pledged $110 million to clear a backlog of surgeries and diagnostic tests delayed during the pandemic, though no deadline has been specified.

The province expects a $548 million deficit this fiscal year, down from $1.4 billion the previous year, due to predicted economic growth and increased federal transfer payments.

Manitoba hasn’t had a balanced budget since 2008, except for a tiny surplus in 2020, and isn’t expecting one until 2028.

Source: CTV News

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