Under The Dome

Budget 2017 charts a responsible course for our province


Our government is moving Manitoba along the road to recovery with Budget 2017, which sets a moderate and responsible course while allowing our province to pursue steady improvements year over year.

We understand the needs of Manitobans with this budget, which includes no new taxes or tax increases while boosting core government spending by 2.1 percent. Though we continue to face a very significant deficit inherited from the previous government, we are addressing this challenge while investing in the services Manitobans depend on.

Budget 2017 calls for a record investment in Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living. This includes $107.5 million in new spending with targeted investments in primary health-care services. Dialysis treatment, newborn hearing screening and mental health services are receiving budget increases, and there is an additional $9.4 million for new cancer drugs and $6.5 million for further cuts to ambulance fees.

We are increasing our investment in the Families Department by more than $105 million, with support for 501 new licensed child-care spaces and 50 additional home-based child-care spaces. Budget 2017 also increases funding by $36 million for education and training, and includes measures such as increased bursary support to reduce barriers to post-secondary education. This spending increase reflects our record investment of $1.3 billion this year for Manitoba’s kindergarten to Grade 12 education system.

To encourage economic growth and job creation, our government is making a strategic infrastructure investment projected to reach more than $1.7 billion in 2017-18. This is one of the highest expenditures in our province’s history for infrastructure ranging from highways and flood protection to health-care and education facilities, as well as for local projects.

This budget continues to index personal income tax brackets to inflation, and further increases the basic personal income tax exemption to remove more than 2,000 Manitobans from the tax rolls. We are maintaining the Seniors School Tax Rebate, the Primary Caregiver Tax Credit and many other important tax credits and rebates.

Our government’s focus on reducing taxes and restraining government spending, while investing in front-line services, is working. Manitoba’s 2016/17 deficit is projected to be $39 million lower than what was forecast in our budget last year. If spending had continued at the rate undertaken by the previous government, Manitoba’s deficit would have reached $1.7 billion in the 2019/20 budget year.

Budget 2017 is accountable to Manitobans and sets out a strong plan for a responsible recovery for our province, while maintaining our government’s commitment to making Manitoba the most improved province in Canada.

Greg Nesbitt is the MLA for the Riding Mountain constituency. He can be reached at 1-844-877-7767 or 204-759-3313, or by email at gregnesbittmla@mymts.net.