Thursday, October 30th6.6°C
23888

Manitoba government's credit outlook goes from stable to negative

WINNIPEG - A major credit-rating agency has downgraded its outlook for the Manitoba government's finances and raised new doubts about the NDP's promise to balance the books by 2016.

Moody's Investor Services on Monday maintained the government's credit rating at Aa1, but switched its outlook from stable to negative, due to a string of deficits that started in 2009.

"Expenditure pressure and prospects for modest (economic) growth will make it challenging for the province to achieve its target of a return to a modest surplus and stabilizing debt burden by 2016-17," Moody's analyst Kathrin Heitmann wrote.

"Manitoba's debt burden is expected to reach about 150 per cent of revenues in 2016-17 versus ... 101 per cent recorded in 2008-09. This trend in debt metrics represents a risk to the province's credit worthiness."

Finance Minister Jennifer Howard called the decision disappointing and said it will result in a small increase in the interest the province pays on its borrowings.

Howard said she remains committed to balancing the budget by 2016 without major tax increases, but added the province will not fixate on that target if it means turning its back on victims of floods or other disasters.

She also said the province could have balanced the budget sooner through deep spending cuts, but felt there is more to government than spending cuts and a balance sheet.

"We look at the impact on our kids. We look at how we want to build a province that our children want to live in, that our parents want to grow old in."

Manitoba is not alone. Other provinces such as Ontario have had their outlook downgraded this year by Moody's. Still, the decision is bound to provide political ammunition for the Opposition.

The NDP government started running deficits in 2009 and said during the 2011 election campaign that it would balance the budget by 2014 without major tax increases.

After winning the 2011 election, the government expanded the provincial sales tax to cover more items, including home insurance, and pushed back its target date for balancing its books. In 2013, the province raised the sales tax to eight per cent from seven.

The next provincial election is expected in April 2016.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23015


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14527.57-96.68
S&P CDNX781.07-6.95
DJIA16974.31-31.44
Nasdaq4549.226-15.068
S&P 5001982.30-2.75
CDN Dollar0.8951+0.001
Gold1204.80-20.10
Oil81.21-0.75
Lumber324.90-2.10
Natural Gas3.715+0.066

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.10-0.005
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.15+0.02
Cantex0.06-0.01
Anavex Life Sciences0.18-0.012
Metalex Ventures0.035-0.005
Russel Metals32.57+0.45
Copper Mountain Mining2.02-0.08
Colorado Resources0.1350.00
ReliaBrand Inc0.012-0.004
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.025+0.005
Mission Ready Services0.37-0.03

 



23028

FEATURED Property
1883005338 Cadder Ave
5 bedrooms 2 baths
$585,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Empty nesting: financial issues

Now that the children have ‘left the nest’, it is a good time to step back and take stock of your financial situation. Being on your own will probably cut household costs to some extent, b...


Keep your haunted home safe

Eerie sounds, spooky lights and Jack-o’-lanterns aglow—extra efforts at Halloween will keep visitors coming back for both tricks and treats. However, to keep the fun going, it’s imp...


What I learned in China

Photo: ContributedI will never be an expert on China. It is just too big, too complex and too old with layers of history and meaning that would take several lifetimes to unravel. As I said to my hosts...

_








Member of BC Press Council


22707