Budget 2013 Protects Families, Economy Against Global Uncertainty, Repeated Flooding

Plan Focused On What Matters Most to Families: Struthers

As reported by the Government of Manitoba News Media Services

April 16, 2013

Today’s budget will keep building a better Manitoba for today and the long term by focusing on the things that matter most to families, Finance Minister Stan Struthers announced today.

Budget 2013 and a new Building and Renewal Plan will protect families, businesses and Manitoba’s economy against increasingly frequent flooding and global economic uncertainty, he said.

“Manitoba has changed a lot over the last decade, from better hospitals, to new schools and world class attractions, but today our progress is at risk. Like all provinces, we’re grappling with the risks of an uncertain global economy but, in Manitoba, we face the added threat of a third flood risk in five years,” said Struthers. “This budget is about protecting Manitobans and our economy against these uncertainties, but not at the expense of the services families count on.”

Recent reviews of Manitoba’s flood infrastructure identified more than $1 billion in needed flood mitigation projects. The minister said the new Building and Renewal Plan looks to the future, targeting long-term, predictable funding to Manitoba’s critical infrastructure needs – $1.8 billion in investments in 2013-14 – including flood protection, new schools, better health centres, and municipal roads and provincial highways.

The minister noted that Budget 2013 further builds on the priorities of Manitoba families:

  • Providing better health care by hiring more doctors, nurse practitioners and other health professionals, and expanding the lifesaving STARS helicopter ambulance to 24-hour service, seven days a week.

  • Creating more opportunities by creating new apprenticeship opportunities, introducing a new training and skills development strategy, and increasing funding to colleges and universities.

  • Keeping Manitoba among the most affordable places to live by improving the basic personal, spousal and dependent exemptions, removing the PST from baby essentials and taking steps to eliminate school taxes paid by seniors on their homes.

The minister noted that Budget 2013 will also build on cost-cutting and efficiency measures achieved in the last year by extending a 20 per cent reduction in ministerial salaries, freezing or reducing the budgets of 11 departments and expanding lean management practices.

“This budget takes the long view. We’ve said no to the kind of short-sighted cuts to our schools and hospitals made in the economic downturn of the ‘90s. Instead, we’re taking a balanced approach,” said Struthers. “We’re taking practical steps to cut costs and redirect those savings into the front lines of services and we’re raising revenue in the fairest way possible to secure against an uncertain economy and all too-frequent flooding.”

The minister noted that every dollar generated for Manitoba’s Building and Renewal Plan will be dedicated to building the province’s critical infrastructure with a guarantee in law and reported on annually.

This year, core government spending growth will be limited to 2.1 per cent with a two-year average total spending increase that is second-lowest in Canada, Struthers said, adding expenditure increases per capita, over the last five years also position Manitoba as the second-lowest in Canada.

Budget 2013 projects a $518-million deficit for 2013-14, an improvement of $65 million over the $583 million deficit projected for 2012-13. The minister confirmed the province’s multi-year financial plan is on track to return to balance by 2016-17.