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Next provincial budget to grapple with deficit

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The Selinger government will present its 2013 provincial budget on April 16.

That is the day in which the second session of the 40th legislature will resume after it was adjourned on Dec. 6.

The government introduced 19 bills in the session, which began on Nov. 19. Only one of them was passed before the legislature took a recess.

Finance Minister Stan Struthers’ budget will attempt to grapple with a deficit that has proved to be more difficult to tame than the government previously thought.

Following upon a record $999-million deficit in 2011-2012, which was blamed in large part on the 2011 flood, the government initially projected a $460 million deficit for the current fiscal year. But in December it adjusted that forecast to $567 million for the year ending this March 31.

Struthers also admitted late last year that the province would have to delay balancing its books until 2016-2017, breaking a promise to begin running surpluses by 2014-2015.

"Provinces across Canada and countries around the world are coping with the challenges of uncertainty in the global economy, and the Bank of Canada forecasts that Canada's economy will grow at a slower rate this year," Struthers said today in a news release. "We'll tackle the challenges ahead of us with a balanced approach that is focused on the priorities of families and will grow our economy."

The minister said the best way to keep the provincial economy growing is to create opportunities to train more people for skilled jobs. He said the government is also committed to maintaining Manitoba’s affordable cost of living.

History

Updated on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM CST: changes Struthers quote

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