Under The Dome

Budget 2018 gives Manitobans the break they deserve
Manitobans deserve a break and our government is providing that break.
Budget 2018 will bring tax relief while continuing to protect the services you depend on each day.
The budget, delivered March 12 by Finance Minister Cameron Friesen, delivered the largest tax cut in Manitoba history, and, at the same time, will remove thousands of modest income Manitobans from the tax rolls. The tax cuts take money off the cabinet table and put it back on the kitchen table of every home in Manitoba.
Beginning in 2019, the basic personal exemption (the amount at which a person begins to pay income tax in Manitoba) will be increased to $10,392, followed by another increase in 2020 to $11,402. This higher exemption will save individuals $109 per year. By 2020, 31,600 more people will pay no Manitoba income tax.
Businesses will also see the threshold of income they can earn before they pay any Manitoba tax increased by $50,000 to $500,000. Strong businesses equal a strong economy.
These tax reductions are being accomplished while our government continues to reduce the deficit as promised. The 2018-19 deficit is budgeted to be $521 million – a full $319 million less than the budgeted 2017-18 deficit. This is a far cry from a projected deficit for 2018-19 of $1.6 billion if our PC government continued to spend at the rate of the former NDP government.
Our government understands that a strong education system today means a brighter future in Manitoba tomorrow. We will continue to invest by:
•increasing funding for Manitoba Education and Training by an additional $13.7 million – the highest amount spent on education in Manitoba history.
•providing an additional $6.6 million in funding for K-12 education.
•building five new schools, including one in Brandon.
•improving the Student Aid program by focusing on students who need the funding the most.
We recognize that healthcare is the number one priority for Manitobans. We will continue on our path of making healthcare sustainable for all Manitobans, while funding Manitoba Seniors, Health and Active Living at $6.2 billion – the highest level of funding in Manitoba history. As well we will:
•reduce ambulance fees to $340 as we move towards our election promise to drop them to $250 in our first term.
•add $7.7 million for expanding dialysis treatment.
•increase spending on the Home Cancer Drug Program by almost $14 million.
•create 60 full-time paramedic positions in communities across Manitoba.
Strong families are the foundation of Manitoba’s future. We will continue to support Manitoba households by:
•increasing funding to improve the quantity and quality of affordable housing by $9 million.
•supporting more than 700 new childcare spaces.
Agriculture, which employs over 33,000 Manitobans and generates approximately $6 billion in annual economic activity, received a boost in Budget 2018. We will:
•partner with the federal government to invest $178.6 million in strategic initiatives over the next five years.
•increase funding for the Farmland School Tax Rebate by $3.4 million.
There is no magic to reducing the Manitoba deficit while maintaining essential frontline services. We have asked all departments to control costs and reduce administration.
Massive layoffs and extreme chopping of essential services are just myths.
The fact is our government is spending nearly 10 percent more than the previous government on healthcare, education and social services.
And, only one-fifth of one percent of all core government employees have received layoff notices.
For example, when changes were announced to healthcare delivery in Winnipeg, approximately 2300 nurses were given ‘deletion’ notices as mandated in their union contracts. Of those 2300, 70 received layoff notices. Of those 70 people, 39 have been hired back to date.
Despite these facts, the management of the Manitoba Nurses Union continues to spend the dues of their members to create a climate of fear about the mythical cuts and layoffs instead of using their energy to be part of the change. Our government is continuing to spend a record amount on health care while continuing to make the necessary changes to improve outcomes today and to ensure sustainability for Manitobans into the future.
Our government’s plan to fix our province’s finances, repair our services and rebuild our economy is working – and when a plan is working, you stick with the plan!
Greg Nesbitt is a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Riding Mountain constituency. He can be reached at 204-759-3313, 1-844-877-7767 or gregnesbittmla@mymts.net