Highlights of the 2012 Manitoba budget:
- Tobacco taxes are going up. The tax per cigarette as of midnight tonight will rise 2.5 cents to a total 25 cents.
- Effective May 1, the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel will go up by 2.5 cents a litre to a total of 14 cents. On the same day, there will be a new three cent a litre tax on marked gasoline (farm fuel).
- It will cost an extra $35 to register a vehicle.
- The government will charge the PST on the following services as of July 1: spa treatments, pedicures, manicures and facials, haircuts, and hairstyling, tattooing and piercings. Haircuts costing less than $50 will be exempt. Also subject to the PST will be purchases of property and group life insurance, trip cancellation insurance, baggage insurance and land titles insurance.
- Fees for birth, marriage and death certificates will each rise by $5 as of Sept. 30.
- Government department spending will go down 3.9 per cent from last year. (However last year’s spending was greatly affected by hundreds of millions in unanticipated flood costs) Ten government departments and agencies will see a freeze or reduction in their budgets.
- The Manitoba Liquor Control Commission to merge with the Manitoba Lotteries Corp. to save on administrative costs.
- Government will reduce the number of government-appointed agencies, boards and commissions by 20 per cent.
- Government to save $10 million in the next three years by reducing the number of regional health authorities to five from 11.
The province’s finances
The government forecasts a spending deficit of $460 million. This compares with a $1.12 billion deficit for the fiscal year ended March 31.
- Government and Crown corporation spending is projected to fall by $578 million, thanks in large part to far fewer flood expenses.
- The province expects to drain its rainy day fund to $329 million from $525 million right now.
Budget winners and losers
- Health Department spending will grow by 3.5 per cent compared to the amount budgeted last year, exceeding $5 billion.
- Education Department spending is rising 2.8 per cent.
- Family Services spending will rise by 7.7 per cent.
- Local Government spending will rise 16.8 per cent.
- Infrastructure and Transportation spending is going up 8.8 per cent.
- Ten departments and agencies, including Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, Housing and Community Development and Immigration and Multiculturalism will see cuts or no increases in funding.