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Carbon tax introduction, income tax cuts highlight 2018 budget
Manitobans will start paying more at the pump and to heat their homes starting Sept. 1..
The 2018 provincial budget says the Pallister government will start collecting the carbon tax on that date.
It will add $5.3 cents to a litre of gas and $6.7 cents for diesel. The budget estimates the revenue raised in a full year will be $248 million. The province says that money will be returned to Manitobans in the form of tax cuts over the next four years. Farmers are exempt from the tax.
On the tax relief side, the province is raising the basic personal exemption from $9,271 to $11,402 by 2020, saving individuals $109 a year. The budget also says the government remains on track to reduce the PST by the end of its first term.
A new child care centre development tax credit of up to $10,000 is in the budget to encourage businesses to create daycare space for employees’ children.
The income tax threshold for small and medium sized businesses is being raised from $450,000 to $500,000, saving individual businesses up to $6,000 a year.
The budget shows the most progress on the deficit since the Tories took office, from a projection last year of $840 million to $521 million for 2018/19.
There are some major areas where the province is spending less. The highways budget is down from $502 million to $350 million. Finance Minister Cameron Friesen says universities and colleges will be asked to find less than $1% savings, which works out to $8 dollars per student per month.
In health, 60 new full time paramedics will be added. $14 million more is earmarked for the home cancer drug program and another $7.7 million increase for dialysis treatment. Ambulance fees will continue to be cut by another $85 to $340.
The province is also planning to build five new schools over the next two years, an investment worth more than $100 million. This includes a school in Brandon, and four more in Winnipeg—two in Waverley West (Pembina Trails School Division), one in the Seven Oaks School Division, and one in the Winnipeg School Division. The big one is a high school in Waverley West that will hold up to 1,000 students to start. Combined, all five schools will hold 3,300 students along with 392 child-care spaces.
$102 million conservation fund
The province will be establishing an independently-run conservation trust to fund projects in support of Made in Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.
The budget books say the Made in Manitoba plan includes the 5% biodiesel mandate, organics diversion, heavy-duty truck retrofits, a phase out on coal, ozone recovery from appliances, converting to electric busses, and getting rid of propane in Churchill.
Money from municipalities including Winnipeg is estimated to drop from $315 million to $312 million.
Rainy day fund
$50 million is being added to the rainy day fund to bring the total to $175 million, which is for emergency scenarios.
With files from CTV’s Nolan Kowal and Josh Crabb