The budget includes an increase in the small business tax deduction
By Diego Flammini
Manitoba’s provincial government tabled its 2018-19 budget on Monday with the goal of making the province the most improved in Canada.
The $17.4 billion budget, up from $17.1 billion in 2017, includes some items that will directly impact the province’s farmers.
The small business tax deduction will increase by $50,000, meaning “a small business with up to $500,000 taxable income will now be exempt from Manitoba corporate income tax,” the budget states.
Increasing the tax exemption will “put Manitoba in line with the other Prairie provinces,” William Pallister, a director with the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, said in a statement yesterday.
Other budget highlights for the ag industry include:
- implementing the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) Multilateral Framework Agreement on April 1 to support the investment of $176 million over five years in strategic programming focused on the sustainability and competitiveness of the agriculture and agri-food sector;
- maintaining crucial programs such as AgriInsurance, and Agricultural Income Stabilization (including AgriStability and AgriInvest), enhancing coverage for feed, corn and soybeans, while introducing coverage for some novel crops;
- providing targeted financial assistance of $1.5 million to agricultural producers in advance of the adoption of beneficial management practices to improve the environmental sustainability of their operations;
- investing an additional $3.4 million in the Farmland School Tax Rebate Program, making sure farmers keep more money in their pockets and can put more money back into their operations;
- providing a $133,000 increase in funding for the Veterinary Diagnostic Services Laboratory to purchase specialized equipment; and
- increasing the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program budget by $151,000 to mitigate damage caused by wildlife.
But at least one issue in the budget is unpopular among the agricultural community.
Manitoba’s $25-per-tonne carbon tax will come into effect on Sept. 1. The tax is expected to generate $143 million in revenue but will raise the prices of gasoline, diesel, natural gas and propane.
Some fuels marked for farm use will be exempt from the carbon taxbut farmers will still feel the brunt of the increased costs.
“Farmers don’t have the option to pass on costs as prices paid to farmers for their production are set globally, based on world market demand, so Manitoba prices cannot be altered to pass on additional production costs and taxes to customers,” Dan Mazier, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers of Manitoba, said in a statement yesterday.
“We are hopeful that the government recognizes these costs and makes the investments back into the sector to help farmers adapt to climate change, a measure not included in the current budget.”