Taxes of all kinds big focus of Manitoba budget

Tuesday, 13 Mar, 2018

If you drive a auto, own a home or like to barbecue, you are going to find less money in your pocket starting September 1.

The province revealed more details about the upcoming carbon tax in their 2018 budget, tabled Monday at the Manitoba Legislature. That doesn't include any increases they will see at the cash register as businesses try to recover their extra costs.

Gasoline will increase 5.32 cents per litre. Diesel will increase the most by 6.71 - propane the least at 3.87.

Drivers and home owners: Carbon tax to take effect September 1 will add 5.3 cents a litre to gasoline and also increase costs of natural gas and other fuels.

Friesen said he could have taken all the carbon tax revenue and applied it to the deficit, but "Manitobans deserve a break".

An increase in the basic personal exemption that amounts to $12 in savings on your 2018 income taxes.

Unfortunately for Manitoba taxpayers, who pay among the highest taxes in the country, he's doing exactly that.

"This is about keeping our promises". This is about managing our expenditures. "This is about allowing Manitobans to keep more of their hard-earned money", Friesen said.

Only two taxes go up significantly: tobacco goes up $7 million over a full year, and phasing out the credit unions special deduction saves the province $800,000 in this budget and $15 million over a full year. On an annualized basis, when the changes apply to a full year, the result is a net tax increase of $95 million.

The difference, though, is that Pallister also plans to offset the carbon tax with modest income-tax cuts, a small business tax reduction and a smattering of other targeted tax relief initiatives.

The government projected spending at C$17.4 billion and revenue of C$16.8 billion, up 2.2 and 4.3 percent respectively from last year's budget. It says there are too many unanswered questions around the implementation date and federal rules. Post-secondary institutions can make up the shortfall either through tuition increases or fundraising, he said. Funding to colleges and universities is down nearly one per cent.

At the same time, the government is cutting post-secondary funding by $6 million, or one per cent, which works out to about $8 a month per student.

The province is also planning to build five new schools over the next two years, an investment worth more than $100 million.

A new child care centre development tax credit of up to $10,000 is in the budget to encourage businesses to create daycare space for employees' children. The province's deficit is forecast to fall from a revised estimate of C$726 million for the fiscal year that ends April 1, according to budget documents. It's limited this year to 200 spaces.

The PCs say they're still committed to eliminating the deficit by 2024 - potentially the end of their second term.

There are some major areas where the province is spending less. The highways budget is down from $502 million to $350 million.

Money from municipalities including Winnipeg is estimated to drop from $315 million to $312 million.

If debt servicing was a government department, noted Friesen, it would be the fourth-largest spending department by budget.

The province will be establishing an independently-run conservation trust to fund projects in support of Made in Manitoba Climate and Green Plan. The fund will be managed by the Winnipeg Foundation and administered by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.

The film tax credit remains this year, but a working group will be established to help determine its future.