Ahead of this afternoon's provincal budget announcement, the Pallister government has released its third quarter financial results for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
It reports a modest increase in the deficit forecast for 2020-21 compared to December's mid-year financial report, to $2.08 billion from $2.05 billion because of additional COVID-19 spending.
Expenses are up $1.6 billion compared to Budget 2020 projections, reflecting additional spending on the COVID-19 public health response and relief programs. The third-quarter report noted a net decrease in revenue of $260 million compared to budget, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on taxation and other own-source revenue. This includes income tax revenue of $453 million lower than budget due to a deterioration in household income and declines in corporate profits during the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Scott Fielding and Health Minister Heather Stefanson said the province will spend $1.2 billion solely on mitigating COVID-19.
On March 31, Premier Brian Pallister said $50 million will be spent to reduce the wait times for surgeries, and also promised rebate cheques for Manitobans, but didn't say how much they'd be worth. Pallister did say they still plan to cut the PST on personal services - like haircuts and salon services - and will begin to phase out the education property tax.
Budget 2021 will be released this afternoon in the Manitoba legislative chamber and posted online at https://www.gov.mb.ca/budget2020/index.html