NDP back to its old tricks
Tax hike biggest since the late '80s
By Tom Brodbeck ,Winnipeg Sun
First posted: Saturday, April 21, 2012 06:11 PM CDT | Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2012 10:32 PM CDT
Manitobans are facing the biggest tax hike in 25 years — an increase not seen since the late 1980s — with $182 million in net new taxes in the 2012 provincial budget tabled last week.
The Selinger government expanded the PST to items such as group life insurance, home insurance, and services such as hairstyling and manicures. The tax increase is expected to generate an extra $99 million for the government.
The NDP also jacked up fuel taxes on gasoline and diesel by 2.5-cents a litre, an increase that will provide tax collectors with an extra $47 million in new revenues.
Combined with other new tax measures, Manitobans are projected to pay $182 million more in net new taxes, by far the highest increase in 25 years.
You have to go back to the days of former NDP premier Howard Pawley to find a bigger tax hike than the one Finance Minister Stan Struthers tabled this week.
In 1987, then-NDP finance minister Eugene Kostyra tabled a budget that contained $233 million in net new taxes, an amount that would be worth far more in today’s dollars.
That year, the NDP increased the PST to 7% from 6% and brought in a new 2% tax on net income. The province also jacked up the payroll tax that year.
A year later, the NDP government fell on Kostyra’s 1988 budget.
It appears Today’s NDP is starting to gravitate back to the Old NDP.
The question now is, what will Manitobans get in return for the biggest take hike in 25 years?
Premier Greg Selinger says the new gas tax will help pay for expensive upgrades to roads and bridges.
Trouble is, even Transportation Minister Steve Ashton admitted to reporters last week that funding for roads and bridges this year will not be much different than in the past four years.
He made the admission during a joint news conference with Premier Greg Selinger the morning after the budget as they tried to explain why funding for roads and bridges was not going up, even though taxpayers are paying a higher gas tax.
“It’s in the same range,” said Ashton. “If you were to describe the level of capital this year and maintenance this year it’s really the historic level we’ve been at the last number of years.”
Right, so taxpayers are shelling out $47 million more in gas taxes, and the province isn’t spending more this year on bridges and roads.
The province is also spending less on capital investment in infrastructure, which fell $99 million to $650 million this year.
That includes spending on capital other than roads and bridges, like jails, government buildings and airport upgrades.
Ashton said the figure to look at for road and bridge repair this year is $589 million, which is about the same as in previous years.
“The real number is $589 million, that is roads and bridges, and that’s certainly comparable to what we’ve budgeted over the last number of years,” he said.
So we’re paying more but we’re getting next to nothing in return.
Taxes aren’t the only thing going up in this budget. User fees are soaring an estimated $100 million. That includes a $35-a-year increase in vehicle registration and an increase to things like fees for the child abuse registry, which is going up 50% to $15.
It’s a massive across-the-board user fee increase that will hit taxpayers hard in the pocketbook.
All told, taxes and user fees are risihttp://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/04/21/n ... old-tricks