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Are you tired of municipalities’ excessive overspending?

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You’ve told us that you’re fed up with unsustainable spending by your local government, which often translates into property tax hikes. You work hard to live within your means and expect your municipality to do the same.

The fact is: local governments are spending faster than their communities are growing. To support these spending habits, municipal governments are having you foot the bill.

CFIB shares your frustrations and created the Manitoba Municipal Spending Watch  report to shine a light on spending levels of Manitoba’s 27 largest municipalities, and to make sure you are getting the best value for your tax dollars.

Manitoba Real Operating Spending and Population Growth

New Manitoba Municipal Spending Watch report (4th Edition)

The 4th Edition report studies operating spending from 2008 to 2015. The report finds that while progress was made in 2015 to rein in spending, the majority of Manitoba`s largest municipalities continue to spend far more than needed on day-to-day operating spending.

This overspending has cost Manitobans $1.17 billion since 2008!

Key Findings:
  • Real operating spending is growing 2.5 times faster than population growth: From 2008 to 2015, operating spending grew by 23%, while population increased by just 9%;
  • However, real operating spending declined by 3% from 2014 to 2015;
  • Overspending is costly to you: Overspending amounted to $1.17 billion over the eight-year period, which is equivalent to $4,696 for a family of four;
  • Labour costs are driving spending increases: Labour costs accounted for 59% of total municipal operating spending in 2015, and increased by 28% from 2008-2015;
  • The City of Winnipeg`s real operating spending fell by 5% from 2014 to 2015, while population grew by 1%;
  • Cities and Towns` overall real operating spending grew by 1% from 2014 to 2015, while population grew by 1% as well;
  • Rural Municipalities` overall real operating spending fell by 3% from 2014 to 2015, while population grew by 1%.

How did your community do?

Real Personnel Services Spending and Population Growth 2008-2015

Labour Costs

Labour costs are driving spending increases across Manitoba`s largest municipalities. In 2015, labour costs accounted for 59% of total municipal operating spending. This cost has increased by 28% overall from 2008-2015!

Increasing Labour Costs are often driven by overly generous wages and benefits. CFIB’s latest Wage Watch Report (2015) reveals a large gap between public and private sector wages for the same occupation. In Manitoba, municipal employees receive a wage advantage of just over 2% compared to a private sector employee in the same job. However, when employer contributions to benefit plans and hours work are included, this gap increases to 14.1%!

Recommendations

We will continue to push municipal leaders to spend sustainably and ensure they use taxpayers’ money as efficiently as possible. With this in mind, CFIB made several recommendations in the report for municipalities to follow.

CFIB`s recommendations for municipal governments include:
  • Limiting annual operating spending growth to no more than inflation and population growth;
  • Conduct municipal core service reviews to identify key services and ensure effective fiscal management;
  • Limiting wage and benefit increases until public and private sector compensation levels are aligned; and
  • Help to establish both provincial and national committees that would provide municipalities with an opportunity to collect and share information in order to achieve more sustainable labour agreements.

For a full list of our recommendations, you can read the full report.

Next steps

CFIB will continue to push municipal leaders to spend sustainably and ensure they use taxpayers’ money as efficiently as your business does.

With the Manitoba Municipal Elections happening on October 24th, 2018, CFIB will be meeting with candidates and sharing this data to ensure sustainable spending is a priority in these elections and going forward.