Struthers seeks input on upcoming budget

Staff / Finance Minister Stan Struthers is taking to the road for a series of pre-budget consultation meetings this month.

But with the provincial deficit running higher than forecast, it’s unlikely that new spending will be the focus.

“In this time of global economic uncertainty, it is important to keep focused on responsible fiscal management,” Struthers said in a statement. “But we’ll keep working and listening to Manitoba families to ensure their priorities (are) reflected in the 2013 budget.”

The province announced in December that it expects to end the fiscal year with a $567-million deficit, up sharply from the $460-million shortfall projected in last April’s budget. The government has been trying to rein in spending but has seen costs go up in several areas, notably health and law enforcement.

In last year’s budget, Struthers imposed a new three-cent-per-litre tax on marked gasoline and upped vehicle registration fees by $35. He also ended a riparian tax credit program.

Struthers will host seven meetings, all running from 7 to 9 p.m. unless otherwise stated:

  •   Jan. 28, Flin Flon: City Hall, council chambers, 20 First Ave. (1 to 3 p.m.)
  •   Jan. 28, Swan River: Westwood Inn, Valley Room, 473 Westwood Rd.
  •   Jan. 29, north Winnipeg: Valley Gardens Community Club, 218 Antrim Rd.
  •   Jan. 30, Brandon: Keystone Centre, 1175 18 St. (1 to 3 p.m.)

Those unable to attend can write the minister (at Budget Consultations, Room 103, 450 Broadway, Winnipeg, Man. R3C 0V8), email him at min [email protected], or fill out a questionnaire at www.gov.mb.ca.

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