Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canada Day also marks PST rise

Revellers reflect on impact of tax hike

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WHILE hundreds of Manitobans were out celebrating Canada Day, there were many who did not celebrate the one per cent increase in PST put into effect on July 1st. Provincial officials revealed their plan to increase PST rates to eight per cent from its original seven per cent in their 2013 budget.

"I'm struggling to make payments, some people don't even have jobs and they're struggling to make payments," said Otis Riley.

Riley works at a printing shop in Winnipeg, and does not feel job wages are on par with everyday living expenses.

"Everything else is going up, but job wages aren't keeping up with the cost of living," said Riley.

The Winnipeg resident easily spends over $500 a month on living expenses, which includes rent, hydro, groceries, and phone bills. He doesn't know how he will be able to afford the increase.

The increase in the provincial sales tax is expected to raise $277.6 million per year in extra revenues. It follows a $184-million increase in taxes and fees in last year's budget.

Frank Robinson from B.C. moved to Manitoba four years ago. Although he said he is appalled by the provincial government's decision, he also said he would like to see the money being spent on better roads.

"They're wasting money and I want to know where it's going," he said. "They're making upgrades to libraries that people don't use, but everyone uses roads. The state of our roads are ridiculous."

But not everyone is opposed to the rise in PST taxes.

"The city needs work and the province needs work," said Graham Allen. "No one's happy about it, but the provincial government is going through with it whether we like it or not."

Allen is frustrated, but the increase isn't going to stop him from purchasing everyday necessities.

"They promised that they weren't going to increase it, but I'm still going to purchase anything that I need."

elizabeth.fraser@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 2, 2013 A10

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