Critics of Manitoba PST increase flock to public hearing
NDP government plans to raise provincial sales tax to 8% on Monday
Dozens of Manitobans weighed in on the province's planned PST increase at a public hearing Thursday evening, with many opposed to the tax hike.
The province's NDP government intends to raise the sales tax from seven to eight per cent on Monday, despite criticism from the opposition Progressive Conservatives and others.
Some of those opponents came to the legislature for the first of at least six public hearings the standing committee on social and economic development is holding into Bill 20, which would allow the government to raise the PST without having to hold a referendum.
Among those who came to Thursday's meeting was Denise Conan, who is so frustrated with the planned PST hike that she and her husband are thinking of moving west.
"My husband is a owner-operator long-distance truck driver, and he's just tired of working so hard and just turning it all over in taxes," she said.
"So we're seriously considering Saskatchewan — five per cent tax there."
The NDP has said the revenue that would be generated from the increased tax would help pay for infrastructure such as roads and hospitals, as well as flood prevention measures.
But critics like Dwight Hildebrandt argue that the NDP is simply mismanaging the province's money and relying on Manitobans to pick up the slack.
"We have a government right now that … has run into its credit limit and needs to raise more capital in order to borrow more money," Hildebrandt said.
"The average citizen, when they run into that limit, have to take a hard look at their finances, step back, cut from their budget and re-evaluate and move on. This government goes, 'No, our taxpayers have an endless pocket. Let's just keep dipping in' … and it's not going to stop."
Despite hearing criticism at Thursday's meeting, and the fact that more public hearings are scheduled, the government still plans to go ahead with the PST increase on Monday.
The other hearings on Bill 20 will be held July 2-5 at 6 p.m. and July 6 at 10 a.m. Two more hearings will be held on July 8 and 9 starting at 6 p.m. if necessary.