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But NDP promised no new taxes, Tories say

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/4/2012 (2831 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A statement made during a debate in last fall's election campaign is coming back to haunt Premier Greg Selinger.

The opposition reminded Selinger Wednesday he promised not to raise taxes during a leaders' radio forum on Sept. 12.

According to a partial transcript provided by the Tories, the premier said:

"Our plan is a five-year plan to ensure that we have future prosperity without any tax increases and we'll deliver on that. We're ahead of schedule right now."

Selinger broke that promise when his finance minister, Stan Struthers, handed down his budget on Tuesday, Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen said.

"They broke the fundamental promise of the election campaign, which was not to raise taxes."

In his first budget as finance minister, Struthers broadened the reach of the provincial sales tax and raised cigarette and fuel taxes.

He also hiked a number of service fees, including those for registering vehicles and obtaining birth and marriage certificates.

The increased taxes and levies are expected to raise more than $200 million a year.

The Tories seized on the tax increases during question period Wednesday, saying they would pose a hardship for many Manitoba families.

McFadyen said the NDP laid the groundwork for tax hikes by spending excessively over several years.

"Eventually the chickens come home to roost, and they've started to come home to roost in this budget."

Meanwhile, Selinger repeatedly deflected questions about the broken promise Wednesday when confronted by reporters.

"We have broadened our tax base," he allowed at one point.

"We acknowledge we've generated more revenues in Manitoba to be responsive to the needs that we had to address to protect front-line services and to rebuild infrastructure while keeping Manitoba affordable."

Selinger said the 2.5 cent a litre gas tax hike, set to take effect May 1, would be spent improving roads and bridges.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

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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