WINNIPEG — Manitoba's Progressive Conservative government is presenting a budget today that is expected to include income-tax cuts, a new carbon tax and some spending controls.
Premier Brian Pallister has already said the budget will raise the basic personal exemption — the amount of money people can earn before they start to pay income tax — well above its current level of $9,271.
In Saskatchewan, the exemption is $16,065.
The budget will also put up more health-care funding so that ambulance fees can be further reduced, Pallister told The Canadian Press earlier this month.
The government promised in the 2016 election to gradually halve the fees which range up to $500.
The budget will also say when the province's $25-per-tonne carbon tax is to take effect and outline where the roughly $260 million it will raise annually will be spent.
"It's going back to Manitobans," was all Pallister would say Friday. The government has hinted at using the money for its planned income-tax cuts and other forms of relief to lower costs for families.
The federal government has mandated that the provinces enact a carbon tax this year that would start at $10 a tonne and increase to $50 a tonne by 2022. Pallister has said Manitoba will keep its tax at $25 a tonne.
The budget comes two years into the Tory mandate and at a time when equalization payments from the federal government have jumped by $217 million. The extra cash could help Pallister fulfil his promises to cut the provincial sales tax to seven per cent from eight by 2020 and to eliminate Manitoba's $779-million deficit by 2024.
The Tories also plan to keep spending increases in big departments in check. The government recently announced a 0.5 per cent increase in public-school funding for 2018-19 — an amount the teachers' union says is not enough to maintain service levels.
The Canadian Press