PST hike 'largest cash grab in Manitoba,' says Katz

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz is blasting the Manitoba government for raising the provincial sales tax, but not sharing the money with municipalities.

Winnipeg mayor wants province to share more tax revenue with city

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz says the Manitoba government's latest budget will boost the province's revenues but reduce the city's bottom line. (CBC)

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz is blasting the Manitoba government for raising the provincial sales tax, but not sharing the money with municipalities.

The province plans to raise the PST to eight per cent in July and dedicate the generated revenue towards infrastructure, from road repairs to flood prevention measures.

But Katz argued that the city will have to pay the province $1.4 million more each year because of the PST hike.

"This is considered to be the largest tax grab in the history of Manitoba," he told reporters on Wednesday.

Katz said the PST increase will bring in $277 million for the province, and the City of Winnipeg will get only $7 million of that revenue.

Moreover, any property taxes the province owes to the City of Winnipeg for provincial government-owned property within city limits will now be considered grants, he added.

"With what you've seen in the provincial budget, it appears that the premier and the provincial government have abandoned us and left us to deal with our crumbling infrastructure all on our own," Katz said.

The mayor has been calling on the province to devote more of its revenue towards infrastructure in municipalities like Winnipeg, which has been dealing with numerous potholes, aging bridges and deteriorating facilities.

Katz admitted that the city has no way to force the province into sharing more revenue, but he hopes voters will be riled up enough to put pressure on the government.

Intense debate over the PST increase continued at the provincial legislature Wednesday, with Speaker Daryl Reid having to intervene in several heated arguments between Progressive Conservative MLAs and members of the NDP government.