Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Manitoba government’s spring budget took aim at the basic personal amount for wealthy taxpayers while also changing property taxes in a way that will see many homeowners and commercial property owners paying more.

The NDP government’s first budget since last October’s election, released Tuesday, will begin clawing back the basic personal amount in the 2025 tax year for people with net income above $200,000. The government estimates this will raise $3.5 billion in the 2024–25 fiscal year.

The basic personal amount has been indexed in the province since 2017. It will be $15,780 for 2024 and is projected to be at $16,206 for 2025, the budget said.

Manitoba also has extended the provincial fuel-tax holiday by three months.

The 14-cent-a-litre tax was suspended Jan. 1 and was to be reinstated July 1, but the government is extending the break until the end of September.

Finance Minister Adrien Sala’s budget also fulfils campaign promises to provide free prescription birth control, rebates of up to $4,000 on electric vehicles, $300 rebates on security cameras, and double the tax credit for fertility treatments.

“This is a plan to be able to make good on so many of the promises that we were elected by Manitobans to deliver on,” Premier Wab Kinew said.

The budget also contains a major reworking of the education tax on properties, which was not spelled out on the election campaign trail.

A new flat credit will replace the existing combination of credits and rebates, starting next year.

The change will see people with lower-value homes pay less and those with higher-value homes pay more. Many homeowners are looking at increases of hundreds of dollars.

Commercial property owners are losing their rebates and will not get the tax credit offered to homeowners. Overall, the property tax changes will raise provincial revenues by $148 million dollars annually.

The province is adding a tax on vaping products to match an existing federal levy.

The budget sets aside money for a supervised consumption site in Winnipeg, which would be the first in the province and would open next year.

There is also $500,000 to start an inquiry into cost overruns at the Winnipeg Police Service headquarters and other money for a review of the previous Progressive Conservative government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We absolutely need to go through a thorough exercise of asking what happened, what worked, what didn’t, [and] what should we do better next time,” Kinew said.

The budget forecasts a deficit of $796 million, down from almost $2 billion last year.

Manitoba has run deficits in every year but two since 2009, and the government’s net debt is forecast to climb this year to $35 billion.