“After a billion dollars in tax cuts over the last several years, we think it’s time to look at the revenue side of the ledger. “ - Lois Wales, MGEU President.
Winnipeg (18 April 2012) – The Manitoba government budget introduced yesterday contains a number of items of interest to public service employees in the province.
- an overall spending decrease of 3.9 per cent, working toward balanced budgets by 2014;
- an increase in the gas tax with more revenue going to improve/maintain infrastructure;
- Manitoba Lotteries and the Manitoba Liquor Commission will be merged into one Crown Corporation; and
- a broadening of the Provincial Sales Tax to encompass more and generate additional revenue but there were no changes to personal income tax rates, including no new taxes to Manitoba’s wealthiest one per cent.
Wage freezes for public employees were conspicuously absent from the budget.
“Our concern when we look at today’s budget is the 3.9% decrease on the expenditures side,” said Lois Wales, Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) President. She is concerned about a program review that will be seeking $128 million in savings. “Certainly those savings need to come from somewhere. Our fear is that we’re going to see what we’ve seen in the past: not filling job vacancies when they arise and not replacing workers when they retire.”
“Without significant sources of new revenue, through initiatives like progressive changes to the personal income taxes paid by the wealthiest in Manitoba, I think it’s reasonable to assume that we may see further cuts to services in different ways,” Wales said. “After a billion dollars in tax cuts over the last several years, we think it’s time to look at the revenue side of the ledger."
The MGEU/NUPGE was successful in securing a no lay-off clause during the last round of bargaining, ensuring a measure of security for workers asked by government to accept two years of zero per cent wage increases.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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