Premier Greg Selinger defended the NDP government’s move to raise the provincial sales tax to eight per cent while in Brandon Thursday.
"We’re going to show very concrete results for it — flood protection for Manitobans, better highways, better roads, better schools," Selinger said. "Those things are what Manitobans have told us are priorities and we will invest it all back in there."
PST will increase from seven per cent to eight per cent beginning July 1 and the province has been met with disapproval from a variety of groups since the budget was announced on Tuesday.
"Any time you raise the tax, people are not always happy, we understand that because Manitobans work hard for their money," he said. "We also know that people are asking us for better roads, they’re asking us for schools because we have a growing population … our seniors need personal care homes."
When asked if he acknowledges that he broke an election promise to not raise taxes, Selinger said "We acknowledge that we’ve made changes and we acknowledge that every province has made changes … As we’ve gone forward in order to cope with the reality that we have of a slower economic recovery and in the case of Manitoba’s major infrastructure demands."
Selinger delivered his State of the Province address at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
When he mentioned the repaving of Victoria Avenue between 18th and 34th streets will be done this year, Selinger received a big round of applause from the approximately 420 people in attendance.
"You did a good job rallying on that front," he said. "But we did have it in the plan."
The project was bumped up a few years, thanks to public pressure.
Selinger confirmed that Brandon will be getting a portion of the social housing units that were announced in Tuesday’s budget.
The premier also fielded questions, including one on the decision to phase out school taxes for seniors by 2015.
"If they paid for their children’s education, if they paid for their grandchildren’s education, there comes a certain point where we think that they should have some relief," he said.