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Manitoba’s budget: property tax relief welcome but too slow to balance

Author: Todd MacKay 2021/04/07

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is applauding the Manitoba government’s property tax relief in its budget, but it needs a stronger plan to balance the books.

“Manitoba families and businesses are struggling so it’s great to see the Manitoba government give them a break on their property taxes,” said Todd MacKay, Prairie Director for the CTF. “It’s also good to see the government’s commitment to balance the budget, but it needs to work harder to hit that target sooner.

“All taxpayers should be concerned about the interest charges on the debt that will cost the province almost a billion dollars this year.”

The Manitoba government is rebating 25 per cent of education property taxes to save taxpayers about $250 million this year, according to the budget.

The Manitoba budget now projects a deficit of $1.6 billion. The province’s taxpayer-supported debt is projected to hit nearly $30 billion this year. Manitoba will spend $994 million to cover the interest charges on the debt.

Manitoba plans to balance the budget in eight years. That’s ahead of Alberta, which has no balanced-budget target, but it’s behind the targets in Quebec (2027-28), Saskatchewan (2026-27) and Nova Scotia (2024-25).

Manitoba is removing the provincial sales tax from personal care services such as hair cuts, but it’s imposing the PST on streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify. 

“The PST changes are almost comical,” said MacKay. “This budget saves taxpayers a bit of money at the barber shop and salon, but hits them when they flip on a movie or turn up some music.”