Manitoba budget to focus on education and economy
Finance Minister Jennifer Howard said Tuesday the upcoming fiscal plan will be a "meat-and-potatoes" budget for Manitoba with few surprises.
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, March 6, 2014 6:16AM EST
WINNIPEG -- It's budget day in Manitoba and the NDP government is promising to focus on education and the economy.
Finance Minister Jennifer Howard has already said there will be no big surprises or tax hikes in her budget this afternoon.
She has said the spending plan will deal largely with helping young people get the education and training they need for good jobs.
A government source says to that end, Premier Greg Selinger will announce a tour of First Nation communities to look for ways to improve graduation rates and job opportunities.
The high school graduation rate across the province has improved to more than 85 per cent in recent years, but remains much lower on reserves.
Overall, the budget will be much easier on people's pocketbooks than the last two years, which saw sharp tax hikes, but some user fees are expected to rise.
Last year's move to raise the provincial sales tax to eight per cent from seven resulted in a sharp drop in NDP support in opinion polls.
With two years to go before the next election, the government has set out to show the money is being used for roads, bridges and other core infrastructure work.
Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton revealed details Wednesday of a five-year, $5.5-billion infrastructure program -- funded in part by the tax hike.