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Province's deficit timeline should alarm taxpayers: Tory leader

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The Selinger government’s decision to postpone balancing its books by another two years should raise alarm bells among Manitoba taxpayers.

That was Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister’s take today on the province’s new timeline for getting its books back into the black. The government now intends to balance its budget by 2016-2017, instead of its long-held goal of 2014-2015.

Pallister said the NDP has shown no ability to control its spending. Government revenues are not the problem — they’ve been steady, the PC leader said today.

But expenditures have steadily climbed, and it’s not just been the fault of last year’s Manitoba flood, he said. "It was supposed to be the flood of the century, not the excuse of the century."

Putting off a balanced budget for two more years "erects roadblocks to (Manitobans’) future success," he said.

In spring, the Selinger government dealt with its deficit situation by handing Manitobans their highest tax increase in a quarter of a century, Pallister told a news conference at the Legislative Building.

"We believe that that high spending problem is a high tax problem for citizens of our province," he said.

Asked what the Conservatives would do to fix the problem, Pallister said his party is already working on some ideas.

He said he has encouraged the province to complete a detailed review of all its expenditures as a way to begin the process of living within its means.

"Other jurisdictions are taking a real detailed look at how they spend their money. We think this would be a real good starting point," he said.

 

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