The Pallister government’s budget cuts frontline health and education services, hits students with a tax increase while raising tuition fees and fails to address the needs of families across Manitoba, Interim NDP Leader Flor Marcelino said today.
“This is a badly designed budget that is putting Manitoba on the wrong track,” Marcelino said. “Manitobans want a balanced approach, not one that shuts ERs, cuts the health-care infrastructure budget by 20 per cent and makes no commitment to new schools, gyms or labs for our education system.”
Marcelino noted today’s budget:
- Cuts the health infrastructure budget by 20 per cent from last year’s budget, on the heels of shutting three emergency rooms and closing an urgent care centre;
- Hits post-secondary students hard by raising taxes on graduates by up to $2,500 a year, after allowing tuition fees to rise by about seven per cent and keeping investments in universities and colleges flat;
- Makes no commitment to new K-12 schools and cuts the education infrastructure budget by nearly 30 per cent, after the government earlier eliminated the small-class size initiative;
- Cuts spending on highways by nearly $30 million and pares back funding for municipalities;
- Continues the freeze on the minimum wage for another year and presents no job-creation strategy for workers;
- Cuts funding for arts and cultural organizations and reduces funding for libraries across the province.
“The ideologically driven Pallister government has shown once again that it’s out of touch with families,” Marcelino said. “The premier will keep his 20 per cent pay increase while his budget hits the health-care system, undermines the education system and makes students pay thousands of dollars more each year with no corresponding investment in post-secondary institutions.”