News Manitoba

Tories outline budget alternatives

As Premier Greg Selinger prepares his April 17th budget, the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party is outlining policy steps that could make a positive difference without increasing taxes.

Manitoba PC Finance Critic Heather Stefanson (Tuxedo), together with her colleagues in the Manitoba PC Caucus, outlined five alternative priorities for the government to consider as the session resumes with the budget.

"Greg Selinger has run Manitoba's finances into the ground because of his spending addiction and inability to stick to his own budgets," says Stefanson. "We have already seen his solution - pass the costs on to Manitobans in the form of higher Hydro rates, higher day care fees, and higher education taxes. More tax increases are pending. But there is another way to clean up this mess - a positive way that Manitoba can follow and we are planning to highlight this approach as the session in the legislature resumes."

After listening to hard-working Manitobans during a pre-budget consultation, Stefanson outlined a five-point alternative plan for the NDP that will help control spending and create jobs by improving Manitoba's business climate without raising costs for Manitoba families:

1 - Commit to Honesty and Transparency in the Budget - no more fake five year plans, no more massaging the books to delay $600 million worth of deficits.

2 - Commit to Eliminating Red Tape - embrace the proposals from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and other groups to start tracking red tape, and reducing it.

3 - Commit to a Program Spending Review - Why can't we ask the same tough questions here that other provinces have asked?

4 - Review Hydro's Capital Program - The Public Utilities Board has called for this. Hydro has already raised rates on an "emergency" basis to pay for added costs brought on by NDP political interference. Meanwhile we have a $20 billion Hydro capital plan resting on the political assumptions of Greg Selinger and only $7 billion of predicted import revenues. It's time to ask the right questions at Hydro.

5 - Immediately Join the New West Partnership - The New West Partnership has been operating since July 2010, but Manitoba is still alone on the sidelines. We should embrace free trade by joining the New West Partnership to create more private sector growth and job opportunities for Manitobans.

Stefanson, together with Manitoba PC Regulatory Reform Critic Mavis Taillieu (Morris), Manitoba PC Hydro Critic Reg Helwer (Brandon West), and Manitoba PC Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Critic Dennis Smook (La Verendrye) will be outlining these alternatives throughout the approaching session, introducing Private Members' Bills so the NDP will have a chance to put their votes where their mouths are.

"We have a positive alternative to offer Manitobans, an alternative to the endless cycle of Greg Selinger's debt-fuelled spending addictions and whining about non-existant 'cuts' from Ottawa," added Stefanson. "We'll see starting next week which path Greg Selinger and the NDP are interested in following - the path to better management and a stronger private sector economy, or the shorter path to the wallets of Manitoba families."