ICYMI: Budget 2021/22 Presentation – 8 Years to Return to Balanced

Apr 9, 2021 | Chamber News, Front Page, Government News, Uncategorized

COVID-19 has cost us all dearly. The province projects a deficit of $1.597 billion for 2021-22, albeit an improvement from the third quarter projection for 2020-21 of $2.08 billion, and they predict it will take 8 years to return to a balanced budget. The good news is that Manitoba’s economic outlook indicates a strong rebound in 2021 with real GDP rising 4.1 per cent, followed by another solid year in 2022 of 3.6 per cent real growth.

To download a recording of our April 8 #MBPoli Power Hour featuring Minister Fielding, click here.

To download a copy of the Minister’s slide presentation from the event, click here.

According to Honourable Scott Fielding, Minister of Finance, the first priority of Budget 2021/22 is to continue to protect Manitobans through the ongoing pandemic.

“We know that what matters most right now is Manitobans’ health, and we need to get moving on vaccinations so we can return to some type of normal life,” said Minister Fielding during the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce April 8 #MBPoli Power Hour presented by 6P Marketing. “That means ramping up our immunization campaign because we can’t expect the economy to recover with strength if we have to keep living with operating restrictions. Our government has committed $1.18 billion for continued costs associated with the pandemic, and we’ve invested more in the health care system overall, because we know we also need to strengthen long-term care, increase personal care capacity, support mental health and addictions, and tackle the surgeries that have been put on the backburner because of COVID-19. But we recognize that immunization needs to be the focus right now.”

According to Manitoba Chambers of Commerce President & CEO Chuck Davidson, there were a few nuggets of surprise in the budget for fiscal year 2021/22, but overall, the funding commitments were closely aligned with what he expected.

“Obviously, we’re very glad to see continued healthcare investments to address COVID-19 prevention and build up our system capacity for the future, but through the lens of the MCC, the most important issue to pandemic recovery is the pace of reopening, particularly for those businesses have been operating at less than 50% capacity for the past year. Immunizing Manitobans with a greater sense of urgency needs to be the government’s number one priority right now because it is THE ONLY pathway to effective recovery.”

Budget 2021/22 included $1.2 billion for pandemic-related health and education costs:

  • $230 million for personal protective equipment, testing and vaccine site infrastructure, contact tracing and other preparations as part of the province’s overall public-health response.
  • $350 million for additional health-care systems costs in preparation for a potential third wave of COVID-19
  • $160 million to support school and education needs over the current and next school years.
  • $100 million for the vaccine program
  • $40 million for Manitoba Restart Program capital initiatives at the municipal level.
  • $300 million will be set aside for unexpected expenses.

In addition, the Province announced a number of commitments that have long been Chamber policy, including: a plan to take education property taxes off property taxes, reducing Payroll Taxes, indexing personal income taxes, and the establishment of a long overdue Tax Competitiveness Review.

Tax relief for Manitoba families:

  • Phasing out education property taxes by 50 per cent over the next two years (25 per cent per year) for residential and farm properties, and 10 per cent for other types of property, with rebates returning nearly $250 million to approximately 658,000 property owners this year, and an average rebate of $1,140 over two years;
  • Removing the retail sales tax (RST) on personal services including haircuts and salon services as of December;
  • Reducing vehicle registration fees a further 10 per cent starting in July; and
  • Indexing Basic Personal Amount and personal income tax brackets to inflation so an additional 1,500 Manitobans won’t have to pay provincial income tax for 2021.

Business community commitments:

  • The province is lowering payroll taxes for small businesses. The exemption threshold is being raised to $1.75 million of annual payroll from $1.5 million. The threshold below which employers pay a reduced rate is being raised to $3.5 million from $3 million.
  • more than $62 million to help businesses retrain employees and develop e-commerce platforms
  • $25 million for youth job programs
  • Small business venture capital tax credit is being increased to $500,000 maximum eligible investment to help businesses raise business growth equity.
  • $2.1-billion investment in strategic infrastructure will help drive construction jobs and stimulate the economy:

Community commitments:

  • $103.5 million increase for priority strategic infrastructure projects that match federal funds under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP);
  • flexible basket funding to municipalities with $172.6 million in operating costs and $137 million in capital costs, with advanced operating grants again this year;
  • $25 million in trust to redevelop the Hudson’s Bay Building in downtown Winnipeg; and
  • $5.6 million more for the Building Sustainable Communities Program to fund more than 10 larger-scale community capital projects.
  • Almost $630 million for road construction and maintenance, including $107 million through the Manitoba Restart Program, which will allow safety improvements at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Provincial Trunk Highway 16 and the south perimeter interchange at St. Mary’s Road;

To access complete documents for Budget 2021/22, click here.

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Glad to hear that @mbchambersofcom representative on @CdnChamberofCom Board of Directors Paul Provost from @6pmarketing was able to participate in discussion with Deputy PM and Finance Minister @cafreeland in Ottawa #VoiceofBusiness #PoweroftheNetwork