Manitoba election: PCs promise to raise tax brackets, basic personal exemption

Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives promise to end what they call "inflationary bracket creep" if they're elected on April 19, as well as start to raise the basic personal exemption on income taxes.

PC Leader Brian Pallister accuses NDP of running a 'nickel-back government'

PC Leader Brian Pallister speaks to reporters in Winnipeg on Monday, promising to increase income tax brackets by the rate of inflation and raise the basic personal exemption in the first budget year of a Tory government. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives promise to end what they call "inflationary bracket creep" if they're elected on April 19, as well as start to raise the basic personal exemption on income taxes.

PC Leader Brian Pallister said his party will increase income tax brackets by the rate of inflation within their first full budget year.

Most provinces already index tax brackets, and Manitoba has fallen behind, Pallister said.

"Bracket creep is a kind of a nefarious way to overtax people," he told reporters in Winnipeg on Monday.

"What it does is it makes sure that the income tax brackets aren't raised to keep up to inflation, sneaking more money off the kitchen tables of Manitoba families every year as inflation goes up and the tax bill goes up too."

He also promised to raise the basic personal exemption toward the national average within his first term.

Manitobans start paying provincial income taxes after earning just over $9,000, while in Saskatchewan the minimum for 2016 is just under $16,000.

Pallister said a Tory government would try to bring Manitoba closer to the national average for the basic personal exemption rate, which he said is around $11,000.

He accused NDP Leader Greg Selinger of running a "nickel-back government" while in office by offering something, then taking a nickel back in taxes.

The Progressive Conservatives have already promised a tax cut — reducing the provincial sales tax to seven per cent.

Pallister said he will pay for his promises by cutting waste in government and will release the full cost of the Tory platform on Friday.

The NDP suggested a Tory government would slash programs and called on Pallister to "be upfront and accountable about what his cuts will look like."

"He's trying to have it both ways. But he can't take cut hundreds of millions out of the budget and still protect the front-line services working and middle-class families count on," the NDP said in a statement.

"Something has to give from his reckless agenda for cuts, and that something will be the health care, education, and jobs that you and your family need."

With files from The Canadian Press

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