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Manitoba's credit rating could suffer due to budget being in the red: Pallister

Brian Pallister

Brian Pallister

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/5/2015 (1374 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Opposition Leader Brian Pallister continues to hammer the government on its failure to balance its books.

On Thursday he expressed concern that the province’s credit rating could again be downgraded, forcing the government to spend millions annually in higher interest costs.

Pallister noted Moody’s Investors Services rebuked the Selinger government last summer over its plans to bring the province’s books back into balance by 2016-2017 without showing meaningful signs it was reining in spending. The independent credit-rating agency downgraded the outlook for Manitoba’s Aa1 debt rating to negative from stable.

Since then, the government has set a new target of 2018-2019 for getting its books into the black. It also appears to be relying on high economic growth — rather than spending cuts — to achieve a balanced budget in the future.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/5/2015 (1374 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Opposition Leader Brian Pallister continues to hammer the government on its failure to balance its books.

On Thursday he expressed concern that the province’s credit rating could again be downgraded, forcing the government to spend millions annually in higher interest costs.

Pallister noted Moody’s Investors Services rebuked the Selinger government last summer over its plans to bring the province’s books back into balance by 2016-2017 without showing meaningful signs it was reining in spending. The independent credit-rating agency downgraded the outlook for Manitoba’s Aa1 debt rating to negative from stable.

Since then, the government has set a new target of 2018-2019 for getting its books into the black. It also appears to be relying on high economic growth — rather than spending cuts — to achieve a balanced budget in the future.

Pallister said the NDP government’s recent budget will provide cold comfort to bond rating agencies and could trigger another downgrade — if not this year, then maybe in future years, if the province doesn’t get its fiscal house in order.

"The money will go instead to service the overspending of the past and will not shape a better future for our province," the Tory leader said.

Pallister said his party remains committed, should it win power in next April’s election, to balancing the books without reducing frontline services.

He said he believes there is plenty of wasteful spending that can be eliminated without citizens feeling a service pinch.

He cited examples such as the $670,000 in severance payments made recently to NDP political staffers after the premier promised none would be targeted if they supported his leadership opponents.

He also cited the Investors Group Field construction woes as an example of government waste. "There is strong suspicion that the government pushed that project forward, rushed it, to get it out before the last election campaign and that it’s costing us millions of dollars," Pallister said of the need to replace concrete concourse surfaces at the stadium.

He said the Conservative party has listed three dozen ways on its website that the government can reduce spending without hurting front-line services. However, that information was not readily available when the Free Press did a quick check of the PC site.

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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