July 25, 2017
Lamont: Pallister’s Decision to Cut His Own Taxes a Factor in Manitoba’s Credit Downgrade
Winnipeg, MB - Dougald Lamont, who is running for leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, says the latest Standard and Poors (S&P) decision to downgrade Manitoba’s credit rating is being driven by Premier Brian Pallister’s decision to give himself and the wealthiest Manitobans a deficit-financed tax cut.
Lamont says that the PC Government is deflecting blame onto the NDP when the S&P credit report makes it clear that the reasons for the credit downgrade are due to decisions made in the PC's 2017 budget. While the Manitoba economy is rated as positive, the PC’s and NDP’s budgetary performance is ranked as “very weak.”
Lamont says the credit rating agency’s report makes it clear that the PCs are doing nothing to generate revenue to reduce the deficit, singling out Pallister’s 2017 budget because it does “not contain measures to materially increase revenues.” It also clearly singles out the PCs decision to deliver a tax cut to the wealthiest - so-called “tax relief” through the indexation of personal income tax brackets as a reason for Manitoba’s deficit.
The PC plan to increase the basic personal exemption was pitched as a boost to poor and middle class Manitobans, who had some of the highest personal income taxes in Canada under the NDP. In practise, Pallister’s decision means the biggest “relief” will go to the wealthiest Manitobans, while those who make the least will see pennies a day at best.
An analysis by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives showed that a family making $14,718 will only see $16 less in taxes - less than a nickel a day. A family making up to $22,000 will only see a break of $68, or 18 cents a day, while earners in the highest income brackets - including Pallister and his cabinet - will get $553 back a year.
“Pallister's decision to cut taxes, especially for the wealthiest Manitobans, has hurt the province’s credit rating and will add $600-million to Manitoba’s debt by 2020.” said Lamont. “Credit ratings agencies are downgrading Manitoba based on what the PCs are doing - not past governments.”
Lamont said that the credit downgrades and revenue shortfalls made the PCs stalling and delays on measures like the Federal health accord, legalization and taxation of marijuana and a carbon tax even harder to understand.
“The Federal Government is offering tens of millions of dollars in new health funding, and we are looking at new revenue from marijuana sales and from a carbon tax, and the PCs seem to be turning it all down,” said Lamont. “We could have a better credit rating, lower deficit and a healthier economy and Pallister is intent on delivering the opposite.”