City & Politics

The 2013 Provincial Budget: How to make it work for you

The Government of Manitoba released its 2013 budget yesterday, but instead of forcing you to read through the entire mind-numbing document yourself, I’m going to break it down with questionable logic and hack mathematics so you can best take advantage of the changes. Enjoy!

Are you looking for a get-rich-quick scheme?

On July 1, the general sales tax will change from 7.0 per cent to 8.0 per cent, and baby supplies will become completely exempt from sales tax. This means, if you buy one million dollars worth of diapers on June 30, sell them on July 1 with the added 1.0 per cent price increase, and then collect the sales tax refund, you can make $70,700!

Note: This almost definitely won’t work.

Are you a smoker who also works a minimum wage job?

Although the tobacco tax is going up by four cents a cigarette, minimum wage will also be going up by 20 cents in October. This means, if you want to pretend neither increase ever happened, you can smoke a free cigarette every two hours and thirty-nine minutes! Also, education and health spending will be going up 4.5 per cent, so you can expect to have great care when your smoking starts to take a toll on your health.

 Are you an old curmudgeon?

If you live another two years, you won’t have to worry anymore about paying as much to educate those neighbourhood hooligans because, by 2015, the province will be eliminating school property taxes for seniors. Also, because of some of last year’s federal cuts, the Department of Immigration and Multiculturalism will see a 45 per cent cut in spending, so you can cut down on your racist complaints about how you pay so much in taxes to help out new Manitobans.

Do you fish or work at the University of Winnipeg?

Sorry, there’s no good news here. Fishing licenses will double from $5 to $10 due to the added conservation costs of the updated Fisheries Enhancement Fund. And as far as the U of W goes, the province has reneged on its commitment to provide operating grants of five per cent for three years. You can read Dr. Lloyd Axworthy’s less-than-pleased response to the province’s decision here.

Mark Schram grew up on a ranch in southwestern Manitoba and now writes out of Winnipeg. If you would like to offer him a job or ask him about how to pull a calf, you can contact him at