The Progressive Conservative MLA for Borderland says Tuesday's budget delivered by the governing NDP was light on details. 

"I think I would borrow the language of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities president who said the budget misses the mark in many respects," said Guenter. "I like to see more healthcare funding, but there's no details yet on where that money will go and how that will be spent, especially as it relates to beefing up staffing in the healthcare sector."

Budget 2024 outlined the government's intention to hire 100 doctors, 210 nurses, 90 paramedics and 600 health care aides over the next year and make investments to retain and train even more. It also included a commitment to add hospital and ICU beds and open new Minor Injury and Illness clinics and primary care clinics.

Josh GuenterJosh Guenter

Guenter added, he is also concerned by the NDP government's move to stop phasing out the Education Property Tax his party began when it was in power. 
The new, $1,500 Homeowners Affordability Tax Credit announced in Tuesday's budget will replace the current 50 per cent rebate cheques. As well, the $350 credit will also disappear next year as the province shifts the tax burden to more valuable properties.

"At the end of the day, Manitobans will be paying more. That's the theme from the budget," said Guenter. "Especially for farmers. School property tax on farmland has been a big issue in our area for many years. It was in response to that the previous PC government began the phase out of that, we cut it in half."

"They've also given school divisions the ability to tax beyond two per cent," added Guenter. "We're seeing those tax increases from three to eighteen per cent just this year. So, the direction, inevitably, is going to be upward."

Meantime, the Progressive Conservative (PC) MLA for Morden-Winkler Carrie Hiebert is concerned the NDP budget didn't address the need to grow the economy which, she says helps to fund many social programs across the province. 

There were a couple items she was happy to see go forward. 

"There's definitely some positives here, like the Prenatal Benefit for example. It's a great thing that's happening, and I think that's going to be excellent for so many women who are having babies. I think that's awesome. The Fertility Tax Credit, which is something that we, as a PC party, already have sort of been working on, as well. So, I'm excited to see that happening."   

MLA for Morden-Winkler Carrie HiebertThe Progressive Conservative (PC) MLA for Morden-Winkler Carrie Hiebert

Hiebert said her biggest concern was for the healthcare system, she didn't see a robust plan to fill empty positions at places like Boundary Trails Health Centre.  

"Also, potholes in our roads and highways. They've cut the infrastructure; this has been cut in this new budget. So, that's something we need to look at. What's it going to look like now down the road? Pardon the pun there, but what are we going to do? There are ongoing high taxes. School taxes have gone up, and are going to continue to go up, and it's going to make affordability harder for the average family that's paying for a home, and a mortgage, and kids."  

This was Hiebert's first budget too, as sitting MLA for Morden-Winkler in the Manitoba Legislature.  

"We're holding the government accountable, and making sure Manitobans are heard, and they hear what we need across the whole province, as well in rural Manitoba, as well as Winnipeg. So, there are definitely concerns and there are definitely some good things here." 

Finally, the Progressive Conservative (PC) MLA for Midland says the NDP government's budget failed to include any real, new affordability measures. 

Lauren StoneThe Progressive Conservative (PC) MLA for Midland Lauren Stone.

This, noted Lauren Stone, was the biggest disappointment with the budget announced on Tuesday, adding cost of living and affordability is the number one issue impacting Manitobans right now and the number one thing she's hearing from her own constituents.

"They announced a couple tax changes, one that's temporary that will basically end in October, the Fuel Tax Holiday," said Stone. 

The other measures, according to Stone, were previously announced by the former PC government, such as increasing the basic personal exemption and increases to tax bracket thresholds. 

"So, it's disappointing that, rather than coming up with their own cost-saving measures, which is what Manitobans are looking for right now, they are instead touting PC affordability measures that have already been announced and implemented."

Meantime, Stone says it was nice to see the NDP's investments aimed at improving healthcare. However, she was quick to add that you can throw as much money as you want at a problem but says it won't solve the root cause, which in this case, is staffing. 

"So, the questions that I have and that our team has is, where are they going to find these people? How are they going to attract them to Manitoba? They have, essentially, no economic development plan. The economy was barely mentioned, and they have no plan to recruit, train and attract nurses and healthcare workers to Manitoba. So, big budget item but no plan."