Pallister budget bad for Manitobans

No benefit for low-income families, increased taxes for seniors

Yesterday’s budget did not provide necessary supports to families, seniors, students, women, and low-income Manitobans, Finance Critic James Allum said today.

“We are deeply disappointed that this government is failing to be straight with Manitobans,” said Allum. “What is clear, however, is that the Premier and his Finance Minister are catering to stockbrokers and CEOs, not Manitoba families. And their secret private-sector audit sets the stage to justify job cuts.”

Their budget fails to raise the minimum wage for the first time in almost 20 years. Tax bracket tweaks by the PC government give low-income earners a mere $16 a year whereas the NDP commitment would have ensured over 100,000 Manitobans received hundreds of dollars a year.

“Pallister is patting himself on the back for buying struggling families a lunch at Burger King, when what they need is rent,” said Allum.

Tax bracket changes also mean a tax break for the wealthy. The Premier has shown his true colours: he won’t support poverty initiatives unless the rich can also benefit.

And after promising not to raise taxes and promising to keep the Seniors’ School Tax Credit, seniors are now hit with a $44-million bill.

“Let’s be clear,” said Allum. “Clawing back this tax credit is a tax increase. Is that money going back into supports for low-income seniors?”

Families also can’t expect any new child care spaces this year. This is terrible news for low- and middle-income families and women in particular. The Manitoba NDP believes women should have equal access to the workforce and children benefit from high-quality early learning.

There is also clear evidence that investing in child care is an investment in the economy. Quebec added $4 billion to its economy after instating universally accessible child care.

The Manitoba NDP is concerned Pallister is taking a short-term approach to help him politically. The priority is attractive numbers on the books now, not continuing investments for a strong economy.

“Investing in students boosts the economy, but Pallister is washing his hands of this as well,” Allum said. “There is no new money for student grants or commitment to affordable tuition. Students are the future leaders of the province, but now they are looking down the barrel of fewer jobs as a result of the Pallister ‘efficiencies’ to come with a bigger debt load.”

The Manitoba NDP will call upon the government to make the investments Manitoba families are depending on for their future.