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Manitoba government lets residents build provincial budget - including tax hikes

WINNIPEG – Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said Wednesday he has no plans to raise taxes in next year’s budget, but will listen to people who might want a tax hike.

Pallister has launched pre-budget consultations that include a new website where people can build their own provincial budget by adjusting spending and tax levels.

The site initially told visitors tax increases were not an option, but the wording was changed after Pallister’s announcement to tell people they can raise or lower taxes and see the effects on the deficit.

Pallister was asked if he would break a campaign promise and raise taxes if that’s what many people told him.

“I haven’t heard a lot of Manitobans ask me to raise taxes, so it’s a hypothetical I don’t think I yet need to answer,” he said.

“But I think I’m answering it honestly by saying that we’re ready to listen to Manitobans and hear what they have to say.”

The previous NDP government started running a string of deficits in 2009, culminating in a $1-billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended in March.

Pallister, who was elected April 19, has promised to reduce the deficit and cut the provincial sales tax by one percentage point.