Addressing Inherited Challenges
Manitoba continues to face a large and looming fiscal challenge. The previous government doubled the provincial debt, implemented significant tax hikes, increased and broadened the provincial sales tax, allowed spending to exceed revenues, and ran deficits year after year.
Our province was on a path to a $1.7 billion deficit by 2019 if the previous government's structural deficit had been left unaddressed. The legacy of every credit rating downgrade meant that money that should have been spent on the priorities of Manitobans was instead being paid to lenders outside our province.
Our government reduced the size of cabinet by one-third, began to address unnecessary red tape and pared back senior management positions across core government and in the provincial crown corporations.
Performance and value-for-money reviews were undertaken on both our province's fiscal situation and health care system, and all government and opposition MLAs agreed to a voluntary pay freeze for the duration of this term of our government.
On each of these fronts we are making progress, with our province's projected 2016/17 summary deficit now a full $39 million below what was projected in our first Budget.