Congratulations to Andre Proulx on winning the recent byelection for the eighth and final city council seat in Thompson. I look forward to working with Thompson’s mayor and city council, as well as other organizations, for the betterment of our region and the province. Thanks to Chiew Chong and Blake Ellis for also putting their names forward and offering a choice for Thompson voters in the general election and byelection. It’s a sacrifice for candidates and their families when they run for public office, and they deserve our gratitude.
In 2017, our government introduced the Fiscal Sustainability and Taxpayer Protection Act to create a balanced and sustainable path to balance the provincial budget by the end of our second term. It requires reducing the deficit by at least $100 million each year. By shopping smarter, reducing red tape and getting better results, we are fulfilling that mandate while increasing spending on health care by $118 million and on education by $135 million in Budget 2019 to the highest levels in Manitoba history.
After years of over-taxation and broken promises by the previous NDP government, Manitobans deserve a break. I’m pleased that on July 1, the provincial sales tax will be reduced to seven per cent, fulfilling our promise to put this decrease in place during our first term and leaving more money with Manitoba families. This tax cut, the largest in Manitoba’s history, will save an average family of four about $500 annually. Businesses will save over $130 million per year and the tax relief will be greatest for companies purchasing large amounts of equipment and building materials, such as those in manufacturing and construction. The business savings will be passed on to Manitoba households and benefit a family of four by an additional $170 a year.
Local governments, school divisions, post-secondary institutions, regional health authorities and other government agencies will also benefit from the PST cut, saving them $16 million in total each year. These savings will help local governments and school divisions balance their budgets without raising taxes.