The Fifth session of the 39th Legislature resumed on April 12, 2011, with the delivery of the budget from Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk.
The 2011-2012 total operating expenditure of $11.4 billion represents an increase of 5.2% from 2010-2011. Highlights of the government's budget included:
* Increasing the basic personal exemption by $1,000 over four years. * Creating a new Children's Arts and Cultural Activity Tax Credit.
* Funding 2,100 more childcare spaces, 400 more nursery spaces and expanding the online childcare registry province wide.
* Supporting seniors by hiring more personal-care home staff and enhancing the Primary Caregiver Tax Credit.
* Opening five new quickcare clinics where nurse practitioners will offer families basic primary care.
* Investing additional resources to train and retain health-care professionals across the province.
* Providing strong, stable multiyear funding to universities, which will receive operating increases of 5% in each of the next three years.
* Increasing operating funding for all school divisions by a minimum of 2.2% for a total of $1.1 billion.
* Renovating, expanding and building schools with an additional $94.2-million investment in public school facilities.
* Investing in the new Manitoba Mentors Program.
* Introducing a new, five-year $30-million program to help Manitoba businesses grow and find new markets.
* Completely eliminating the small business income tax and the general corporation capital tax, the first full year Manitoba companies will benefit from these changes.
* Increasing the Green Energy Equipment Tax Credit to 15% from 10% on geothermal heating systems.
* Providing an additional $500,000 this year through the Manitoba Mineral Exploration Assistance Program to support research including the search for rare earth elements.
* Increasing municipal infrastructure and transit grants to the equivalent of one percentage point of the existing provincial sales tax, dedicating future revenue growth to municipalities for infrastructure funding.
* Making major new investments in flood protection.
* Hiring 66 more police and 10 more prosecutors to fight crime and protect families.
* Helping more Manitoba families realize the dream of owning a cottage by opening up 600 new cottage lots at Black River, in partnership with the First Nations community.
During his contribution to the budget debate on April 13, 2011 Official Opposition Leader Hugh McFadyen moved a motion supporting the...