Tax fairness and support for public services part of fiscal update.
Winnipeg (17 March 2016) — The Manitoba government presented its fiscal update in the legislature on March 8,providing a high-level look at the province’s finances and reintroducing several priorities announced in November’s throne speech.
No announcement of privatization plans or contracting out
“Like many Manitobans, I was looking for the government to signal their strong commitment to the public services we all depend on,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE). “In some ways that happened, but until we have a look at line items in a budget and actual investments in departments, infrastructure, and jobs it’s difficult to judge today’s update.”
Government workers, and workers who rely on government funding, have been clear that public services are stretched thin and that privatization and cuts are not the answer. The MGEU/NUPGE was pleased to see that no privatization efforts or contracting out of services were announced in the fiscal update.
New tax bracket for high-income earners
The government did announce the introduction of a new tax bracket for high-income earners, which is something the MGEU/NUPGE among other organizations has been pushing for over a number of years.
“We asked Manitobans in a recent poll if raising taxes on those who’ve done well in our economy is something they support, and the results showed it clearly is,” said Gawronsky. “Other provinces have been going this route, and it is time that Manitoba followed suit, because we all know stable revenue sources are needed to pay for strong public services.” The update includes an emphasis on investing in child care spaces and early learning and funding for education. There was also a nod to more funding for disability programs, and tourism and culture.
The MGEU/NUPGE looking for improved resources for seniors
“We were hoping to see some stronger language around supporting seniors,” said Gawronsky. “Our members work in hospitals, personal care homes, and in home care. As a province, we really need to take the pressure off acute care facilities and invest in home care, community paramedicine, and more personal care home beds.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE