For release: January 13, 2023
Manitoba needs targeted benefits for those in poverty, not more tax cuts
For Immediate Release (Winnipeg, Treaty One): Anti-poverty groups are calling on Premier Stefanson to increase public investment in targeted public services for those most affected by inflationary increases instead of cutting taxes.
On January 11th, 2023, Premier Stefanson indicated the province is considering tax cuts to deal with the rising costs of inflation. This includes a cut to the PST, continuing with the cuts to education property taxes and a payroll tax cut.
As with previous affordability measures introduced last fall, the proposed tax cuts are poorly targeted and will do little to address the needs of those living in poverty and most impacted by inflation.
“The cost of groceries are skyrocketing. We need increases to social assistance and a living wage, not just one-time cheques,” says Desiree McIvor, spokesperson for Make Poverty History Manitoba and mother.
“The 2021 Manitoba Child and Family Poverty Report Card, Missed Opportunities, showed that Manitoba demonstrated the least improvement of any province or territory in its child poverty rate due to taxes and government transfers at 30.5%. Federal taxes and transfers are consistent throughout the country. So, clearly, the Manitoba government is doing a poor job in child poverty reduction.” - Sid Frankel, Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Manitoba and Campaign 2000 Steering Committee member.
Tax cuts since 2019 amount to at least $1.2 billion in annual lost revenue. “Tax cuts do not help families in need and starve the public purse of revenue needed to deal with social and economic priorities,” says Molly McCracken, provincial chair of Make Poverty History Manitoba.
The Premier and Manitoba government is taking tax and revenue advice from the economic advisory council on competitiveness and a "tax competitiveness" working group composed exclusively of business people.
To address the affordability crisis for those in poverty and with low or moderate income, the Manitoba government should act on the recommendations from Campaign 2000 and Make Poverty History Manitoba, which includes:
Revise its poverty reduction strategy and commit to bold targets and timeline, within a poverty reduction strategy to reduce the rate of poverty substantially
Increase the minimum wage to a living wage and support education and training for well-paying jobs for those on social assistance
Immediately introduce a Liveable Basic Needs Benefit that lifts all Manitobans up to the poverty line
Provide adequate support for youth aging out of the care of the child welfare system
Accelerate the creation of childcare spaces focused on low-income communities and a corresponding robust investment in the workforce
Create 300 net new social housing units per year
The above recommendations will improve affordability and create economic and social development that will benefit Manitoba’s economy and society.
Campaign 2000 will be releasing the updated child poverty report card this coming February 2023
Make Poverty History Manitoba will be conducting community consultations for provincial public policy priorities for action, for use in the provincial election, this coming February 2023.