Manitoba’s fiscal update shows the province can do more to help with affordability

For Immediate Release (Winnipeg, Treaty One): As CCPA predicted (1), the mid-year fiscal update released today shows the Provincial Manitoba budget is in surplus, demonstrating the province can do more to help those struggling with the affordability crisis.

The mid-year Fiscal Update shows the province is in a surplus of $7 million once the $200 million contingency fund is removed from spending (some provinces do not have contingency or forecast error funds). The balanced budget projection for 2022–23 mirrors Manitoba’s pre-pandemic budget balance when it declared a minor $5 million surplus. By this year, any lingering financial effects of the pandemic on the province are gone.

Improved provincial finances result from better-than-expected revenue, generous fiscal transfers from the federal government, higher inflation and record-breaking corporate profits, which contribute to provincial revenue. 

The Province of Manitoba would likely have a sizeable surplus if it had not pursued tax cuts throughout the pandemic. This includes $350 million for education property tax rebate in 2022; $450 million for education property tax rebate in 2023

In sum, tax cuts by Manitoba since 2019 amount to at least $1.2 billion in annual lost revenue – revenue that could have helped low and moderate-income people deal with the affordability crisis. Instead of cutting taxes, Manitoba could have solved child poverty and the homelessness crisis.

The provincial government has the money to invest in our broken healthcare system, raise Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) rates, social housing, home care, long-term care and quality public transit.

Manitoba’s publicly owned hydroelectricity should be harnessed to fight rising gas prices due to inflation by substantially expanding electric transit and transportation across the province. Instead, the province has cut funding to public transit and has not acted on intra-provincial transit. 

(1)  See Flush with Cash: The Provinces are Richer than they Think(Oct 2022)