Four times as many Manitobans rank protecting public services over tax cuts as their top budget priority, according to a poll released today by a large public sector union.
The Manitoba Government and General Employees Union says 47 per cent of Manitobans identified the preservation of government services as their key provincial budget concern while 11 per cent called for a tax cut. Twenty per cent said of Manitobans their key concern was that the budget stimulate the economy, while 18.6 per cent said their top priority was that the government balance its books.
The MGEU commissioned Viewpoints Research to conduct the poll. The firm interviewed 805 Manitobans between Jan. 22 and Jan. 31. The results are considered accurate within 3.2 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
Members of the MGEU executive are meeting with Finance Minister Stan Struthers this morning to demand that he protect public services even if it means it will take longer to balance the budget.
The union said the Selinger government should delay introducing new programs until adequate resources are available.
It said government should also increase taxes on corporations and top income earners to support key services.
And it urged the government to consolidate the investment arms of Manitoba’s major pension funds to strengthen financial returns.
"Manitobans have been vocal about their support for public services, and supporting services was something the current government pledged to do in past elections," said the union’s president Michelle Gawronsky. "The message we (are sending) today is this: you received a mandate from Manitobans to invest in and support the programs and services families rely on, and as 2013 budget deliberations continue this should be the priority."