Municipalities throughout Manitoba are asking for either a larger share of the $277 million expected to be raised by the 1% bump in the provincial sales tax, or for the provincial government to give them a break on paying the extra tax.
"We’re very concerned with how this is affecting municipalities," said Association of Manitoba
Municipalities president and RM of Macdonald councillor Doug Dobrowolski.
The AMM estimates that $11 billion is needed for municipalities to construct and repair
infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, community centres, and water and wastewater treatments plants.
He recently presented a written submission at a public hearing on Bill 20, the bill to legally enact the 1% increase. According to a news release issued by the AMM, $31 million of the additional PST revenue will go into the Building Manitoba Fund to be used for infrastructure projects, but this figure breaks down to only about an extra $9.5 million for rural
Dobrowolski said the additional 1% tax will cost the RM of Macdonald about $67,000 — money which was not budgeted for when the municipality passed its 2013 financial plan in May.
"It’s more money out of our pockets," he said.
"We feel it’s wrong that one level of government taxes another," he said, adding municipalities can claim a GST rebate from the federal government, but not a PST rebate from the provincial government.
Retailers in Manitoba municipalities adjoining Saskatchewan are now seeing customers cross the border to save on paying sales tax that’s 3% higher, said Dobrowolski.