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Budget 2008 Highlights

by NationTalk on April 10, 2008698 Views

Manitoba News Release
……………………………………………………
April 9, 2008

Economic Strength for an Unpredictable Future

• Delivering the ninth balanced budget in a row.

• Using summary budgeting and reporting to improve transparency and accountability and reflect generally accepted accounting principles.

• Projecting a summary surplus of $96 million.

• Providing for 3.3 per cent growth in expenditures.

• Projecting a Fiscal Stabilization Fund balance of $683 million at the end of 2007-08.• Paying $110 million against debt and pension liabilities, the largest payment in Manitoba history of $924 million over nine years.

• Projecting economic growth of 2.7 per cent in 2008, above the 1.9 per cent predicted for Canada. Manitoba’s economy outpaced Canada’s for the second consecutive year in 2007 with growth of three per cent.

• Maintaining steady progress. In 2007, Manitoba’s population grew the most in 25 years, employment grew 1.6 per cent, average weekly earnings grew 4.2 per cent, housing starts were up 14 per cent and retail sales rose 9.5 per cent.

Tax Savings for Manitobans

• Providing $182 million in new personal, property and business tax relief which, combined with previous tax cuts, will save taxpayers $1 billion by 2009.

• Increasing the Education Property Tax Credit to $600, saving Manitobans another $24.5 million each year.

• Increasing the Farmland School Tax Rebate to 70 per cent in 2008 to save Manitoba farmers over $30 million in 2008.

• Introducing a new Primary Caregiver Tax Credit in 2009 to provide eligible Manitobans up to $1,020 per year.

• Reducing personal income taxes for every taxpayer by increasing the basic personal exemption by $100.

• Adding $100 to the spousal and dependent amounts.

• Increasing the Personal Tax Credit by raising the basic amount to $195 in 2009.

• Supporting Manitobans who save through the federal government’s new tax free savings account by not taxing withdrawals.

• Removing the provincial sales tax (PST) from non-prescription quit-smoking aids.

Tax Savings for Business

• Providing $120 million in tax cuts for Manitoba businesses.

• Dropping the small business tax rate, already the lowest in the country, to one per cent in January 2009, saving Manitoba businesses an additional $9.7 million a year.

• Reducing the general Corporation Income Tax rate to 13 per cent in July 2008 and to 12 per cent in July 2009 with a goal of further reducing it to 11 per cent in subsequent years.

• Eliminating the Corporation Capital Tax for
manufacturers and processors on July 1, 2008, to free up $25 million for these businesses to maintain their competitiveness.

• Extending the Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit to the end of 2011 and increasing the refundable to 70 per cent to save businesses another $2.8 million each year.

• Introducing a Book Publishing Tax Credit to support industry expansion with a refundable income tax credit equal to 40 per cent of eligible Manitoba labour costs and an additional 10 per cent bonus for books printed on forest-friendly paper.

• Implementing a new Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit to provide up to $2 million to support the development of new products with a refundable tax credit of 40 per cent of eligible Manitoba labour costs. (Replaces and enhances the New Media Production Grant program.)

• Introducing a new emissions tax on the burning of coal, equivalent to $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions effective July 2011.

• Introducing a new tax credit for employers, providing up to $2,500 per year for two years for each hired journeyperson.

• Extending the Community Enterprise Development Tax Credit and Riparian Tax Credit.

• Introducing a five per cent bonus through the Film and Video Tax Credit for films with a Manitoba producer and doubling the frequent filming bonus to 10 per cent.

Education and Skills Development

• Investing in education as a fundamental economic strategy and developing skills in the workforce, the number-one priority for business.

• Reducing the interest rate on student loans by one percentage point.

• Providing more Training for Tomorrow awards for women studying in the areas of math, science or technology.

• Offering the Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate which returns 60 per cent of eligible tuitions fees to graduates who live and work in Manitoba.

• Investing $1 million to improve high-school graduation rates and support students to transition to post-secondary education.

• Providing $79 million over three years, the largest-ever increase in post-secondary funding. Operating funding to colleges and universities is up more than 65 per cent since 1999.

• Investing more than $100 million in capital projects at post-secondary institutions.

• Supporting the University of Manitoba’s Project Domino.

• Providing $53.5 million more for public schools, the largest single increase in over 25 years.

- Moving toward 80 per cent funding of the total cost of public education and reducing the proportion that comes from property taxes.

- Providing an additional $1.2 million for immigrant settlement and other services.

- Investing $1.1 million more in adult learning and literacy programs.

- Adding new apprenticeship training seats as part of a commitment to add 4,000 seats.

- Working with the federal government to provide $18 million for training and employment support, and skills upgrading.

Healthy Families, Healthy Communities

- Investing $16.6 million more in housing through HOMEWorks!

- Providing new funding for people making the transition to employment.

- Investing an additional $5 million in child care to provide more spaces, a new training and recruitment fund and higher wages.

- Providing $3.5 million to extend the Manitoba Shelter Benefit to help single adults and couples on income assistance and to support a pilot project for individuals with mental health challenges.

- Increasing the supported-living program by $12.4 million.

- Adding $23 million to continue making changes to better protect Manitoba children.

- Supporting young adults affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the areas of housing, education and training, recreation, crisis services, family connections and mentoring.

- Increasing Children’s Special Services funding by six per cent to $23.7 million for physical, speech and language, and occupational therapies and services.

- More support for libraries and more funding for the Winnipeg Public Library.

- Supporting a new tourism strategy to increase tourism revenue to $2 billion by 2010.

- Investing in more yurts and cabins at Manitoba provincial parks and upgrading campground sites.

- Extending 9-1-1 emergency services to more provincial parks.

- Funding for 20 more police officers and adding two more Crown prosecutors.

- Piloting a new mediation services project to provide conflict resolution services to parties involved in private prosecutions.

- Providing additional staff to the expanded and upgraded Milner Ridge Correctional Centre.

- Expanding Lighthouses, places where young people can take part in sports, arts, music and other activities.

- Introducing a new First Sports Initiative for community centres and sports groups to purchase equipment and supplies.

- Adding almost $1 million to the successful Community Places program.

- Providing $500,000 for recreation directors to expand options in Winnipeg’s inner-city neighbourhoods.

Sustainable Green Economy – Protecting Water

- Exporting clean, renewable hydro power, expected to produce $5.5 billion over the next 10 years.

- Implementing new phosphorus restrictions for lawns and new standards for nitrogen and phosphorus for large waste-water treatment facilities, and introducing new limits for smaller systems and lagoons.

- Introducing new rules around the use of septic disposal and providing more resources for monitoring and inspections, particularly north of Winnipeg and in cottage country.

- Providing $5.3 million for conservation districts.

- Renewing the agreement with Ducks Unlimited for the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre.

- Increasing the contribution to the Nature Conservancy of Canada to $400,000 this year.

- Supporting wetlands protection.

- Introducing a water conservation program to encourage purchases of water-saving devices

- Committing to a multi-year funding plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting sustainable farm practices, trucking technologies, active transport initiatives and green heating technologies.

Supporting Innovation – Renewing Infrastructure

- Establishing a New Manitoba Innovations Council of business, research and community leaders.

- Increasing funding for the Manitoba Health Research Council to $6 million.

- Proceeding with the $4-billion, 10-year plan to modernize highways and bridges across the province. This year, 1,300 kilometres of road will be upgraded in Manitoba.

- Providing $15 million to increase inspections, maintenance and rehabilitation of provincial bridges.

- Funding for preliminary work on an overpass at PTH 16 and the Trans-Canada Highway.

- Finalizing work on the Red River Floodway expansion project, protecting Manitobans from more than $12 billion in potential damage from a major flood.

- Providing $150 million for rural and northern municipal water and waste-water projects.

- Investing more than $1 billion in protecting Manitoba’s water in the coming years by working with other governments.

- Providing one-third of the funding to upgrade Winnipeg’s waste-water treatment plants.

- Funding clean drinking water projects in Grandview, Grosse Isle and Melita, and water supply and distribution system upgrades for Hnausa and Watchorn provincial parks.

- Funding waste-water upgrades in communities across Manitoba including The Pas, Roblin, Thicket Portage, Waterhen and Wabowden.

- Upgrading waste-water facilities in provincial parks including Birds Hill, Big Whiteshell and West Hawk.

Advancing Quality Health Care

- Investing $7.2 million to educate and hire more doctors.

- Providing an additional $3 million to increase the number of nurses, health-care aides and allied health-care workers for personal-care homes in Manitoba.

- Increasing nurse practitioner positions for emergency rooms, primary-care clinics and acute-care settings with $1.2 million in funding.

- Funding the unique physician assistants masters program.

- Providing $9 million in new funding for regional health authorities for areas such as provincial laboratories and rural diagnostic imaging, control of sexually-transmitted infections and HIV, mental health programs and chronic disease-prevention initiatives.

- Investing $1.8 million more for cancer screening to ensure earlier diagnosis and treatment.

- Providing more resources for Selkirk Mental Health Centre.

- Increasing the pharmacare deductible by $2 to $6 per month.

- Investing $1 million more to relieve pressures on emergency rooms.

- Providing $2.4 million for dialysis services in Berens River First Nation, Gimli and the Percy E. Moore hospital which serves the community of Hodgson and Peguis First Nation.

- Providing $2.1 million for physical education in grades 11 and 12.

- Investing $20 million in Brandon for a western Manitoba regional cancer centre.

Aboriginal Manitobans

- Introducing a new bursary program that supports and encourages Aboriginal students to enter the medical profession by providing Aboriginal medical students up to $7,000 annually.

- Providing $500,000 to improve Aboriginal academic achievement.

- Supporting the First Peoples Economic Growth Fund.

- Partnering with First Nations interested in cottage lot developments.

- Adding more resources to speed up the settlement of outstanding land claims.

- Providing the first $250,000 for a $1 million capital fund for friendship centres across Manitoba.

- Developing an all-weather road on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.

- Providing resources to support First Nation communities’ bid for a UNESCO world heritage site designation on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.

- Working with the Manitoba Métis Federation on an economic development strategy.

Rural and Agricultural Manitoba

- Increasing funding for the Building Manitoba Fund by six per cent for municipalities outside Winnipeg. This fund provides a share of provincial income and fuel taxes.

- Providing $8.8 million more to the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation to reflect increasing crop values covered by production insurance.

- Investing in the safety and security of the food supply in areas such as inspection services and veterinarian training and services.

- Investing $14.7 million with the federal government to support producers of cattle and other ruminant livestock.

- Funding $60 million in loan supports for hog producers.

- Investing in biofuels such as ethanol, biodiesel and biomass to provide new revenue streams for Manitoba producers.

Northern Manitoba

- Expanding the Northern Healthy Foods initiative to promote the production and availability of healthy affordable food in northern areas.

- Delivering water safety education programs such as Ice Smart, sled safety and training for lifeguards and swim instructors.

- Providing an additional $1 million for fire suppression including an additional helicopter.

- Introducing disability insurance for volunteer firefighters in Aboriginal and Northern Affairs communities.

Manitoba’s Urban Centres

- Providing more than $200 million in funding for the City of Winnipeg to provide local services including transit services and public safety.

- Providing $29 million more for road improvements and bicycle routes.

- Increasing by $14 million support to Winnipeg for programs such as transit, policing, mosquito larviciding and Dutch Elm disease control.

- Funding 50 per cent of transit costs.

- Supporting a $7-million reconstruction of the Westman Regional Laboratories in Brandon.

- Providing support for Renaissance Brandon to help revitalize downtown Brandon.

- Proceeding with major infrastructure upgrades for Brandon including the 18th Street bridge and the eastern access route extension.

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