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Pallister Budget Setting Off Alarm Bells – Heavily Dependant On Feds For Revenue

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Manitoba Has A Revenue Problem

Finally, after a week of delays, Manitobans get to see the 2020 budget. It was delayed more than a week by procedural delays from the Opposition NDP. It was originally set to be delivered on March 11 — the day before the first case of COVID-19 found in Manitoba but was only tabled March 19.

Even with an extra week to get ready to table the budget the Conservative government was not ready with little new spending to help stimulate the economy in troubled times. The major exception was a 1% cut to the PST. Premier Pallister argued earlier that giving Manitobans more money-back helps people get by financially during the pandemic. This has been previously announced. 

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said it’s disappointing that other provinces and governments created measures to help laid-off workers, but Manitoba’s government cannot or would not. 

“We need a plan to be able to support workers so they can pay their bills and prevent businesses from going broke.”

The budget made a number of other projections before the mass business closures due to the coronavirus. So this work will need to be redone when more numbers and greater information is available. 

Total provincial spending is projected to rise $477 million this fiscal year to $17.96 billion.

Transfers from Ottawa are again increasing to $321 million to $5.14 billion. Since 2015 the federal government has been transferring greater dollars into the pockets of the province of Manitoba. The land of the bison now relies on Ottawa for 29 per cent of its revenue. 

Manitoba’s total debt is expected to rise to $26.4 billion, up to $336 million from 2019-20.