Good afternoon! Two Global News reporters, Jeff Keele and Nelly Gonzalez, are currently in “lock-up” at the legislature as the Selinger government unveils the 2011 provincial budget. We’ll have all the details for you here, as they emerge!
PST promises in 2011 Provincial budget
It’s a funding request Winnipeg’s Mayor and Manitoba’s municipalities have been wanting for years, and it looks like they’re finally going to get it.
Sources confirm to Global News the Selinger Government will commit one percentage point of the PST to municipal infrastructure in Tuesday’s budget.
The $239 million would be distributed annually on a capital basis for crumbling infrastructure.
That number could rise if the economy grows.
(Jeff Keele, Global News)
Finance Minister to present final budget before October election
Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk will bring down what is expected to be her last Manitoba budget today before an October provincial election.
Premier Greg Selinger jumped the gun a little yesterday, announcing a plan to hire 66 new police officers.
But Wowchuk still has lots she could do to please voters.
One thing would be to deal with some of the highest provincial income taxes west of Quebec.
Progressive Conservative Leader Hugh McFayden would like to see measures to tackle violent crime, wasteful spending and health-care bureaucracy.
But he expects what he describes as more desperate pre-election spending.
Reporters should be out of lock-up shortly! More details to follow...
$11.3 billion budget tabled
Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk tabled an $11.3 billion budget for Manitoba on Tuesday afternoon.
The Provincial government plans to draw $160 million from its rainy day fund, leaving it at $507 million, to pay down some of the deficit, which now sits at $464 million.
“We are beating our projections (for the deficit),” Wowchuk said.
The Provincial debt will soar to $14.8 billion, which works out to $11,833 per person.
More to come...
Here are a few of the features introduced on the 2011 provincial budget:
* The provincial government is introducing a new children’s arts and cultural activity tax credit for kids up to the age of 16.
* They are promising 2,100 more childcare spaces.
* They are increasing basic personal tax exemption by $1,000 over a four-year period.
* They are increasing the tax on cigarettes by 50 cents per pack.
"By 2015, every Manitoban who wants a family doctor will have one" - Wowchuk.
Budget for cancer drugs more than doubled, plus funds for replacing diagnostic equipment.
Manitoba loosens purse strings in last budget before fall provincial election
Manitoba's NDP government is loosening the purse strings in a pre-election budget that boosts spending on education, child care and municipal infrastructure.
The 2011-12 financial blueprint will raise university operating funding and cap tuition increases at the rate of inflation.
It also promises cash for 2,100 more child-care spaces and 400
Cities will get $5 million more for infrastructure and transit -
with more annual increases to come.
But the budget is hiking tobacco taxes to help with a two per
cent increase in overall provincial spending.
The document forecasts a $438-million deficit.
It's the NDP's last budget before the province goes to the polls in October.
“When the downturn hit, we had a choice to make. We rejected calls to cut front-line services or raise taxes, and ignore Manitobans at risk of losing their jobs because that would have hurt our economy and families,” said Wowchuk. “Instead, we focused on the things families care about: jobs, health care, education and making life more affordable. We’ve seen positive results and that’s why we’re sticking to the plan,” -Rosann Wowchuk
Also, increasing social housing by adding another 300 units and helping low-income Manitobans pay their rent with RentAid.
Also, tying tuition fees to the rate of inflation. Wonder what Manitoba university students think about that?
Highlights of the 2011-12 Manitoba budget tabled Tuesday by Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk:
- University operating funding boosted by five per cent a year for the next three years.
- Tuition increases pegged to the rate of inflation and college fee increases capped at $100.
- Tobacco tax increased by 50 cents for a pack of 25 cigarettes.
- Tax credit up to $54 offered for kids under 16 enrolled in arts and cultural activities.
- Funding for municipal infrastructure and transit hiked by $5 million this year.
- $438-million deficit forecast on $14-billion budget. Two per cent increase in overall spending.
- Money to create 2,100 more child-care spaces and 400 more nursery spaces.
- Small increases in education property tax rebates restored.
- Basic personal exemption to increase by $1,000 over four years.