The MLA for Steinbach says he thinks that a single budget can paint a picture of what is to come for the next four years.

Kelvin Goertzen is referring to the first provincial budget delivered Tuesday by the NDP government. Goertzen says if it is a sign of things to come, then Manitobans can expect a rising deficit with no strategy for economic growth.

"From what was released in the budgetary documents on Tuesday, what is clear is that we're going back to a time of very, very significant budgetary deficits," he says.

Goertzen notes that at the end of the last fiscal year, there was a $250 million surplus in Manitoba. He says Budget 2024 projects an $800 million deficit.

"That's about a billion dollar swing," he explains. "And that's if they can stay within their budget and most NDP governments don't."

Goertzen says certainly this budget presents some tax increases for Manitobans. Specifically, he says some homeowners will now be paying more on their property tax bill, as a result of the Homeowners Affordability Tax Credit. 

"And likely there's more of that to come," he suggests. 

But Goertzen says probably what is most concerning is that this budget presents no strategy for economic growth. He says at the end of the day, if you are not growing your economy and are running a deficit, then taxes will need to go up. 

"We've seen that with previous NDP governments, and it looks like that's the path we're heading down," he adds.

Goertzen says Budget 2024 made very little mention of the southeast. He notes it includes a very small increase in funding for municipalities, though not at the rate of inflation. And, with little said about specific projects in the southeast, Goertzen says he is hopeful that more details might be released in the coming weeks. 

"It did look like the southeast in particular was omitted in terms of a lot of the budgetary announcements," he adds. 

On a positive note, Goertzen says he was pleased to hear that additional funding will be made available for prenatal care for couples struggling to have a family. 

"So, infertility tax credits and support," says Goertzen. "I think that's important for those who are struggling to have a family."

Meanwhile, Goertzen says the $800 million deficit in Budget 2024 is something you might see in a year with major flooding, forest fires, or other natural disasters. He notes it points towards a government that will run large deficits.

"I think my criticism is if you are not going to grow the economy then that leaves all of the burden on the backs of Manitobans to pay the difference," notes Goertzen. "And I don't think that Manitobans by and large have a lot of extra money to pay the difference."