Hold onto your wallets Manitobans because you haven’t seen anything yet when it comes to tax increases.
By now you have probably heard that Manitoba’s NDP government raised taxes by $184 million in the 2012 budget. Sales taxes have gone up on insurance, hair care services, manicures, pedicures and tattoos, to name a few items.
Apparently the latter was an easy decision for the government. They’re trying to reduce the growing demand for posterior-region tattoos that read “tax this.”
Gas taxes are also up 2.5 cents per litre, but as the five per cent GST is applied on top of the provincial tax, the increase will actually be larger. It’s a disturbing situation where raising one tax automatically increases another.
It’s even going to cost you more to die. Well, maybe not for you directly, but for those dealing with your will as they’ll have to pay more for provincial death certificate fees. Not to be outdone, birth and marriage certificates are also going up. Perhaps the government is encouraging people to live a life of solitude; free of making babies, getting married and being in a position to administer a friend’s will.
On top of all those tax and fee increases highlighted in the budget, Manitobans will also see a secret income tax hike again this year through a process known as “bracket creep.” Manitoba is one of only three provinces that don’t protect taxpayers for inflation in the tax system. The result — this year, taxpayers will pay an extra $5 million or so in income taxes province-wide.
But if you thought those increases were bad, it’s actually going to get worse. A lot worse.
You see, the NDP government can’t control expenses to save its life. Over the past 12 years, the NDP has spent more than it had budgeted 11 times.
Think about that for a second. Imagine if every year, your boss asked how much your division needed in funding, you provided her with a figure and then you blew through your budget. Wouldn’t she eventually question your managerial skills?
The NDP’s inability to meet financial targets, deliver meaningful government reform and say “no” to funding requests once in a while is why spending is skyrocketing and why Manitobans are seeing tax hikes to pay for it all.
It’s also why we pay the highest income taxes in Canada at the $30,000 and $40,000 income levels. Don’t believe it? Visit Ernst and Young’s 2012 personal income tax calculator on the Internet and plug those figures in.
But here’s the real kicker. In the 2010 budget, the NDP projected to finally stop running deficits by 2014-15 by tabling a surplus of $185 million. Yet in the 2012 budget, they updated their estimates and now project a surplus of just $23 million in 2014-15. Meanwhile, spending in 2014-15 is expected to be $624 million higher than originally thought.
At this pace, there’s little chance of a balanced budget in 2014-15 and a good chance of even higher taxes along the way.
It all comes down to this —either you line up for witty tattoos when your taxes rise or you get off your duff and speak out against wild spending. It’s really that simple.
@:» Colin Craig is Manitoba director Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the country’s leading non-partisan citizens’ advocacy group fighting for lower taxes, less waste and accountable government. Contact him at: 1-800-772-9955 or taxpayer.com
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 26, 2012