Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lucky stone for first budget?

  • Print

It's a sterling silver pendant with a stone found along the shore of Lake Winnipeg.

Kids call them lucky stones because they have tiny holes bore through them by generations of waves grinding sand through them.

Jennifer Howard hopes it's her lucky stone as she prepares to introduce her first budget as Manitoba's finance minister Thursday. Instead of the new pair of shoes finance ministers traditionally buy for budget day, she settled on a $35 necklace from Hilary Druxman Design in the Exchange District.

Howard said she picked the necklace because it was designed and made in Winnipeg and a portion of the proceeds will go to the United Way.

Howard said the budget will be a "meat and potatoes" document with no major taxes increases -- or cuts.

"There are no big surprises," she said. "There's not going to be any big moves on taxes in any direction, either tax increases or tax reductions. In all budgets different fees may go up to compensate for the recent cost of services, but you're not going to see anything move on taxes."

The NDP is still smarting from last year when, without warning, it hiked the provincial sales tax by one point to eight per cent and axed a requirement to have a referendum on it. The Opposition Progressive Conservatives are suing to fight the increase in court.

The Selinger government has already signalled it's backing off a 2011 election campaign promise to eliminate the school tax for seniors ages 65 and over by 2015. The government said it will need an additional year to phase in the tax credit because it's under the gun not only to eliminate the deficit in three years, but to deal with lower-than-anticipated federal transfer payments due to a dispute with Ottawa over how many people live in Manitoba.

Howard said talks between Manitoba and Statistics Canada continue on Manitoba's contention the agency underestimated the province's population by as many as 18,000 people in the 2011 census. The forecast summary deficit for this budget year is $432 million.

She also said the budget will focus on jobs, training and the economy. As part of that, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton and Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald are to outline the province's five-year, $5.5-billion infrastructure plan today.

Howard said the budget will feature some modest spending increases in frontline services like health care.

"We are going to continue to try to keep growth in spending at a rate that is lower than the growth in the economy, but at the same time, if there's a flood, we're going to fight the flood," she said. "I'm not going to make a decision not to protect people's homes because we have a deficit."

Opposition Leader Brian Pallister said Howard's first fiscal plan will be a "placebo budget" tailored to get Manitobans to forget about the PST increase and the expanded number of services that can be taxed under the PST, such as haircuts costing more than $50.

"The NDP government is counting on Manitobans to swallow the sugar pill and forgiving and forgetting about what just happened to us, the largest tax and fee hikes in the history of Manitoba," Pallister said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 5, 2014 A5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Trouba talks about injury and potential for Jets

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local/Standup- BABY BISON. Fort Whyte Centre's newest mother gently nudges her 50 pound, female bull calf awake. Calf born yesterday. 25 now in herd. Four more calfs are expected over the next four weeks. It is the bison's second calf. June 7, 2002.
  • Jia Ping Lu practices tai chi in Assiniboine Park at the duck pond Thursday morning under the eye of a Canada goose  - See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge Day 13- May 17, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of the government's announcement that there will be no balanced provincial budget until 2018?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google