Minister of Finance, Honourable Cliff Cullen, delivered the Government of Manitoba’s 2023 Budget Address at the Manitoba Legislature on Tuesday afternoon. The Minister provided an updated accounting of provincial finances and laid out the Progressive Conservative Government’s spending plan for the 2023/24 Fiscal Year, as Manitoba heads into a provincial election this fall.

Budget 2023 confirmed a focus on tax competitiveness and announced bold personal taxation measures, including a significant increase to the Provincial Basic Personal Amount, from $10,145 in 2022 to $15,000 in 2023. An increase to the BPA is something the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce has long been advocating for, and we commend the government for taking this important step.

The Government of Manitoba also took bold swings on personal income taxes. After 20 years of falling behind other jurisdictions, they have announced increases to both the lowest and highest tax brackets beginning in 2024. The lowest tax bracket will now apply to the first $47,000 of income earned (up from $34,431 in 2022). The highest tax bracket will now apply only on income earned over $100,000 (up from $74,417 in 2022).

Combined, these personal income tax measures allow Manitobans to keep more of the money they earn. Most importantly, these measures will help to move the dial on improving Manitoba’s economic competitive position in the country. Meanwhile, these taxation measures will put more money into the pockets of Manitobans, and this is not only good for Manitobans, but it’s good for business.

Budget 2023 increases the payroll tax exemption threshold to $2.25 million, eliminating payroll taxes for 150 employers. This budget also signals that a focus on eliminating the payroll tax is next, and such a measure will be beneficial to business. Considered a disincentive to growth, reducing and eventually eliminating the payroll tax has consistently been a priority for business in Manitoba and for the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.

We commend the government for doubling its investment in the venture capital fund from $50 million to $100 million. This sends a strong signal that investments in our province will be made by government, and it should help to encourage other venture capital funds to invest in Manitoba as well. We were also pleased to see increased loan capacity through MIOP and CEDF, which will benefit businesses throughout the province.

In 2023, with a highly mobile workforce and labour shortages across the country, a competitive economic landscape is intrinsically linked to our ability to compete for talent. Therefore, we await more details on how Budget 2023 will address labour shortages in Manitoba. This might mean providing post-secondary institutions with more flexible funding to better align their training programs to labour force needs or getting our interprovincial net migration losses under control. Regardless, we need to keep moving the dial on these critically important issues and we have to continue taking away reasons for people to leave Manitoba.

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