On Thursday, April 30th, the Manitoba Government missed a tremendous opportunity to chart a course for future economic growth and presented little in the way of new measures that will restore business and investor confidence in Budget 2015.
The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) remains critically concerned that the government has missed an opportunity, once again, to take measures that would make Manitoba more competitive with our neighbouring provinces.
“The overall tone of this budget is that it was thrown together by a party that has spent the better part of the last eight months infighting,” said Chuck Davidson, President and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. “It is disappointing that the erosion in confidence from investors has not been addressed and it appears that spending time drafting a financial blueprint for future growth and spur business sector growth has been ignored.”
For the seventh consecutive year, the province of Manitoba will run an operating deficit as Budget 2015 projects a $422 million expenditure shortfall and has no path to return to a balanced budget in Manitoba any time soon. Another troubling aspect of the budget is the Rainy Day Fund, which is at its lowest level in more than a decade with just over $100 million remaining. In addition, Budget 2015 increases the Provinces Net Summary Debt to $20.4 billion, an increase of almost $8 billion in just five years.
Budget 2015 did announce a minor increase in the Small Business Tax threshold that will benefit some small business owners. But overall, only a small number of individuals and businesses will see any real value from this budget as no measures were taken on personal, corporate, or payroll taxes.
The budget also ignores calls to hold the line on minimum wage increases or come forward with a plan to tie increases to the rate of inflation. Another random increase of 30 cents, effective October 1st,will increase the minimum wage in Manitoba to $11.00 per hour.