OPINION: Rainy Day fund at highest level in eight years

Borderland MLA Josh Guenter. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

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Our government’s hard work to fix the province’s finances has allowed us to put much more money away for a rainy day, when residents of the new Borderland constituency and other Manitobans might need it most.

We have transferred $407 million in savings into a fiscal stabilization fund – often called the rainy-day fund – for 2018-19, after unprecedented progress we have made to reduce the provincial deficit ahead of schedule. This transferred amount is much higher than the $50 million our government initially budgeted for it.

Our investment for the 2018-19 fiscal year brings the rainy-day fund to $572 million, its highest level in eight years, after the previous NDP government raided and depleted the fund through its reckless mismanagement and waste.

In addition, our year-over-year deficit reduction for 2018-19 is the best in our province’s history. The year-end figures show a deficit of $163 million, which is $358 million lower than what had been planned. This improvement is a result of our Progressive Conservative government’s financial discipline, and was aided by increased revenue due to economic growth and higher income through Manitoba Hydro and Manitoba Public Insurance.

A continuing obstacle for us is debt-servicing, which cost $1 billion in 2018-19 after three consecutive credit rating downgrades due to the NDP’s years of fiscal failure. However, our progress now has us on pace to eliminate the deficit in 2022, two years earlier than planned.

We are moving Manitoba forward toward lower taxes, stronger services and a balanced budget. Our new investment in the rainy-day fund is sound management that will keep our province on a path toward long-term sustainability, while better protecting all of us down the road.