Winners, losers and highlights from Manitoba’s 2020 budget

By | March 19, 2020

The Manitoba government is keeping a tight leash on spending and delaying some promised tax cuts as it prepares for the economic effects of a stock-market plunge and COVID-19.

The Progressive Conservative budget released Thursday follows through on some tax-cut promises from the election campaign last year, when the Tories won their second-straight mandate.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • The province estimates health-care costs this year could jump by between $50 million and $200 million due to COVID-19, and government revenues may drop anywhere from $160 million to $682 million.
  • The budget for emergency expenditures is to double to $100 million.
  • The province is to put another $300 million into its rainy-day fund to provide a cushion against unexpected costs or economic slowdowns.
  • Manitoba Housing to move away from owning properties over the next five years.
  • Spending increases in areas such as health and family services to be kept below two per cent.
  • Budget predicts a deficit of $220 million, down from $325 million in the current fiscal year. Plan is to balance the budget before the next election in 2023.

Winners

Drivers: Vehicle registration fees are to be cut by 10 per cent July 1.

Families with estates: Probate fees are to be eliminated July 1.

Taxpayers: Fees for preparing personal income tax returns are not to be subject to the provincial sales tax as of Oct. 1.

Flood prevention: The province plans to double the money available for emergency expenditures to $100 million.

Losers

Homeowners: An election promise to remove the sales tax from home insurance is not to happen this year.

Salon customers: Another election promise to remove the sales tax from haircuts over $50 and from many salon services is also to be delayed.

Smokers: Tax on a carton of cigarettes is to rise by $1 on July 1.

Some working parents: The government plans to remove the maximum daily fee at a small number of daycare centres that use a development tax credit.

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