Government plans up to $150M in additional spending this year
New deficit forecast coming
Manitoba's Progressive Conservative government plans to spend as much as $150 million more than it projected in its latest budget forecast to pay for cheques promised to offset inflation, health care and previously announced municipal projects.
Manitoba finance officials said Friday the province used a special warrant to authorize $850 million in mid-year spending.
Approximately $700 million of the spending can be absorbed by the existing budget. Individual income taxes, corporate income taxes and retail sales taxes have exceeded budget expectations. A strong year for Manitoba Hydro is also helping the province's bottom line.
The last budget forecast projected a $548-million deficit at the end of March.
Finance officials, however, will not have a formal budget forecast update until the third-quarter financial information is compiled, something expected in the coming days.
The province routinely uses warrants to authorize spending within budget years. The largest component of this $850-million warrant will cover the $200 million the province will spend on sending cheques to Manitobans to help pay for cost of living increases.
Another $161 million is going to cover nine municipal water-and-sewer projects, all of which have been announced, while $141 million will flow to health care, $50 million will help support Ukrainian refugees in Manitoba and $120 million will cover economic recovery projects.
The remaining $179 million covers "other contingencies" that finance officials said were mostly related to health care.
Premier Heather Stefanson held a news conference Friday morning at city hall to reannounce the infrastructure funding, which includes money to extend city water-and-sewer lines into a St. James residential and commercial development south of CentrePort.
Stefanson hinted the province may soon end its seven-year freeze on funding for Manitoba municipalities.
"Stay tuned," she said.
Winnipeg's budget is expected in early February.