Manitoba Fiscal Policy

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The Analyst The Analyst's picture
Manitoba Fiscal Policy

What are your thoughts on the budgets of Manitoba within the past few years, and perhaps the entire 1999 - present period? Are there any ways in which you would restructure tax and spending policy (tax shifts, increases or cuts and spending cuts, increases, or shifts)?

Issues Pages: 


While waiting for some Manitobans to weigh in, why not throw out some ideas?

Personally, I'd set a fair price for MTS and buy it back - whether the owners want to sell or not - it's called expropriation. You know, the way they do with people's homes. This would be a warning to "investors" that they can't count on right-wing governments to sell off public wealth forever.

And public affordable child care - immediately. WTF are they waiting for, exactly?

Fix Winnipeg. Affordable public housing, and mass transit.

General rule of thumb: Figure out what people need first, then figure out how to pay for it.

There, that should do it. Smile

Disclaimer: Did I mention I don't live there?

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

Unionist wrote:

And public affordable child care - immediately. WTF are they waiting for, exactly?

I don't live there either.  But isn't it generally conceeded that Manitoba is second only to Quebec in this field?  As of 6-7 years ago, they had $14/day care.



Lou Arab wrote:

I don't live there either.  But isn't it generally conceeded that Manitoba is second only to Quebec in this field?  As of 6-7 years ago, they had $14/day care.

See? I knew I'd kick-start something!

Yeah, you're right about Manitoba being second-best, though I thought pre-school rates were closer to $20. Still, they've done well. I wish other provinces would take note. We'll have a battle to keep rates low here in QC, since Pauline Marois (remember her, anyone?) announced a plan to bump the $7 to $9 and then index it to the CPI.

So, child care is ok. That should leave more money to fix Winnipeg!



Be less aggressive with the tax cuts on income and on corporate taxes, and don't increase the PST, for starters.

I'd like to see more investment in childcare (why not $7/day?), more anti-poverty measures (raise welfare rates, try out the "housing first" strategy for homelessness that's gotten a lot of buzz as of late, perhaps even bring back mincome), and lower tuition fees up front instead of the tuition rebate system.

This would require more cooperation with the city than is probably feasible, but better mass transit in Winnipeg would be nice -- though the city would have to stop being stupid about planning for that to work out.

The Analyst The Analyst's picture

In terms of Reveue, I'd

-> Lower the PST & issue rebates to low income families.

--> institute a $120/tonne carbon tax (issue rebates based on income).

-> Institute an inheritance tax.

In terms of Expenditure

-> Fund housing first strategies

-> institute a massive city wide road repair program, in exchange for binding city committee to halt any new suburban construction for ten years

-> Transition to a universal childcare system in the province.

These are just a few ideas.


Some simple, effective, and uncontroversial measures the government could do to increase revenue:

Increase mining and petroleum taxes and royalties, water rental rates, and stumpage rates.

Also move toward direct government management of Crown forests such as in partly done in BC with British Columbia Timber Sales and Ontario with the Algonquin Forestry Authority and Local Forest Management Corporations.

Stop procuring wind power through Independant Power Producers. If wind farms are economical and feasable, let Hydro own and operate them.



Since there is a leadership vote going on with the long serving and accomplished NDP government I thought I'd place this blog post reference by Jim Stanford here. For all the right-wing and neoliberal MSM and their pundits bashing of the NDP led government, it turns out as just propaganda.

Of particular interest is the fact that B.C. may soon be passed by Manitoba, and hence become the poorest province in the West (by this measure anyway — B.C. has many other benefits, of course!).  Manitoba has increased its relative standing steadily, and is now just a couple of percentage points behind B.C.  And by the way, Manitoba has not obsessed about eliminating deficits.  Instead it has worried more about investments in physical and human infrastructure — and its economy is improving accordingly.  (Business-friendly journalists, of course, regularly deride Manitoba’s NDP government for its fiscal policies, at the same time as they praise B.C. — consistently ignoring Manitoba’s rising relative position.)

So Manitoba New Dems take heart, deal with facts and not the propaganda spouted by Cons and Libs.

Of course, Stanford took a great swipe of the BC Liberal government, and rightly deserved:

I found especially objectionable the article’s uncritical cheerleading for expenditure restraint, praising the government for below-average per capita spending on health care and education, and for welfare rates that are “frozen in time.”  Why are these things assumed to be “good”? To the contrary, the lasting debts that B.C. is accumulating by underinvesting so badly in its people, its infrastructure, and its environment belie the government’s phony claims about living within its means and protecting future generations.  The article included just one critical quote (from the NDP finance critic) versus seven bullish quotes from Mr. de Jong (along with a gratuitous depiction of his “famously thrifty” personal habits).

Thus implies why NDP led Manitoba government is on the right track:

B.C.’s relative economic performance has in fact been slowly fading throughout the Liberal government’s tenure.  It turns out that just balancing a budget does not imply automatic prosperity after all (and if deficit elimination is achieved through austerity, it hurts prosperity, not helps it).