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The Manitoba government today announced tax cuts in its new budget. It says the tax-exempt amount that people can earn before paying starting to pay taxes will go up by $2,020 per year over the next two years. The move is intended to put more than $230 million back into the pockets of Manitobans.

Furthermore, the small business income tax threshold will be increased from $450,000 to $500,000 which will save businesses up to $6,000 per year.2018 03 manitoba legislature winterThe 2018 budget was presented Monday at the Manitoba Legislature.

Steinbach MLA and Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen says this is big news for his constituents.

"For residents of the Steinbach constituency whom I have now represented, gratefully, for about the last 15 years, this has been a constant message that I've heard, the desire to see more money left in the pockets of Manitobans, the feeling that government is simply taking too much away from them. This budget is providing the largest personal tax relief that we've seen in the history of our province I understand."

Goertzen notes the Headway program in Steinbach which works with at-risk teens, will be getting annual funding. Also, as Health Minister, he is happy to see a reduction of $85 in the fee for an ambulance ride, bringing it down to $340.

"High ambulance fees have been a significant irritant to Manitobans, to the effect that many were not calling an ambulance because they were just concerned about the big bill. Certainly, as Health Minister, the last thing I want to see is people not accessing the kind of emergency care they need because they're worried about the bill."

Goertzen says the long-term goal is to bring the ambulance fee down to $250.

He notes we will all pay five cents per litre more for gasoline starting September 1 as part of the new carbon tax. Goertzen says the federal government forced the province to take this step but adds the Pallister government will be returning all of that money to Manitobans in the way of tax relief.

Other measures in the budget include funding for 700 new child-care spaces and money for five new public schools, four in Winnipeg and one in Brandon. The budget also includes a commitment to reduce the deficit by a further $319 million this year. The Pallister government also re-affirmed its commitment to reduce the provincial sales tax to seven per cent by the year 2020.

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