Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson and Finance Minister Cliff Cullen announced today that the government's 2023 Budget "will deliver an unprecedented $1.8 billion in affordability and tax measures while bolstering vital programs and services Manitobans most rely on with a record-setting investment of $2 billion."
"In the last year, the Manitoba economy emerged faster and stronger than anyone could have anticipated with more Manitobans working than ever before,'' said Stefanson. "Budget 2023 reinvests every cent of new revenue to help Manitobans and our most vital services - all accomplished while keeping the province on track to eliminate the deficit."
It is a budget that will leave more than $5,500 in the pockets of the average family by 2024 while delivering across-the-board funding increases in all 19 government departments. Budget 2023 projects a $363-million deficit, down $15 million from the current 2022-23 forecast of $378 million, the minister noted.
Budget 2023 includes the largest personal income tax reduction in Manitoba history. Changes to the Provincial Basic Personal Amount will ensure that Manitobans do not pay a cent of income tax on the first $15,000 they earn in 2023. This measure alone will save the average two-income family over $1,000 and will remove 47,400 low-income Manitobans from the tax rolls. Changes to tax bracket thresholds in 2024 will provide even greater savings for Manitobans.
"At a time when Manitobans need it most, Budget 2023 will help people across all areas of family and community life while we work hard to create economic opportunities," Cullen said. "This budget is about doing everything possible for Manitobans at a time when they need it most."
At the same time, the Manitoba government is redoubling efforts to help heal the health-care system, with the largest-ever investment of $7.9 billion. That is an increase of $668 million to help shorten wait times and rebuild the front lines. Budget 2023 also initiates a $1.2-billion multi-year capital campaign that will add capacity to nine facilities including in rural hospitals, St. Boniface Hospital, Grace Hospital, CancerCare Manitoba and Health Sciences Centre, the minister said.
"Budget 2023 is making significant investments to heal health care in our province to help people get the care they need, when and where it's needed," Cullen said. "We're making foundational investments to reduce diagnostic and surgical backlogs, hire more health professionals and support health infrastructure needs but we're also expanding coverage for diabetes insulin pumps and glucose monitors, and creating a new hearing aid program for Manitobans."
The budget provides an historic investment of more than $100 million to address the challenges of violent crime and homelessness across Manitoba.
"We all want to feel safe in our homes, on our streets and in our communities,'' Cullen said. "Budget 2023 addresses the root causes of crime, with significant investments in homelessness, shelters and housing, addictions beds and enhanced services for mental health. There is also more for front-line police officers to fight violent crime."
Budget 2023 reflects that a growing Manitoba starts with stronger communities and supports for affordable, quality services close to home.
Manitoba schools will benefit from historic funding - the largest increase in a quarter century - bringing funding for kindergarten to Grade 12 schools to $1.7 billion, up $100 million from last year. The Manitoba government is also well on its way to creating 23,000 affordable child-care spaces and will invest $76 million this year to introduce affordable child care three years ahead of plans in other provinces. Budget 2023 will provide more help than ever before for Manitobans with disabilities as funding increases to $640 million.
Budget 2023 contains an historic investment of $217 million in total municipal operating funding - $47 million more than last year and the largest increase in a decade. Millions more are earmarked for wastewater treatment, transit and other capital projects, the minister added.
"From additional municipal funding to investments in education, child care, disability service, arts, culture, parks and the environment, Budget 2023 delivers, building stronger communities to improve the quality of life for all Manitobans," Cullen said.
Future growth depends on creating new opportunities and continuing to attract skilled workers, the minister said. Last year, Manitoba welcomed more than 21,000 newcomers including 14,000 people through the Provincial Nominee Program. Already, 85 per cent of these nominees have secured employment. As well, more than 17,500 Ukrainians who have presented at Manitoba's reception centre will continue to receive the province's unwavering support, the minister said.
This is important as Manitoba expects to have 114,000 new job openings over the next five years. Three in five of these jobs will require some form of university training. To meet this challenge head-on, Cullen said, Budget 2023 will invest $65 million more into post-secondary institutions and cap university tuition increases at 2.75 per cent.
This year's budget assists small business growth and supports the creation of new made-in-Manitoba jobs by increasing investments in loans and guarantees by $27 million to incent private-sector investment in enterprises that can demonstrate significant, sustainable growth and job creation. It also includes $15 million for the Community Economic Development Fund and $20 million to support economic development and investment attraction.
The Manitoba government recognizes the need for new investment opportunities. Budget 2023 doubles the funds dedicated to venture capital to $100 million and eliminates payroll taxes for an additional 150 employers. The payroll tax rate will be reduced for the first time in 25 years in 2024, if the economy continues to perform as it has this year. The minister noted this is an important first step to phasing out this tax.
To support growth, Budget 2023 invests a further $40 million to develop infrastructure to allow CentrePort South to expand and will invest $147.6 million over two years to improve the Hudson Bay rail line to the Port of Churchill.
"Our message to investors is simple - come grow in Manitoba,'' Cullen said. "We are investing more than $2.5 billion in trade-enabling highway infrastructure over the next five years and making investments to spur economic development opportunities and generate well-paying jobs. Combined, the opportunities that lie ahead will support vital services, strengthen the government's fiscal position and provide historic help for Manitobans."
For more information on Budget 2023 and what it means to Manitobans, visit www.manitoba.ca