Living in Manitoba still cheaper despite budget

The Manitoba government says it's cheaper to live here than almost anywhere else in Canada, even after the tax increases in the budget unveiled this week.

The Manitoba government says it's cheaper to live here than almost anywhere else in Canada, even after the tax increases in the budget unveiled this week.

Manitobans may pay more income tax than practically anywhere else, but the government maintains that income tax alone tells only part of the cost-of-living story. If one considers other major costs of living, this province compares favourably with the other western provinces.

British Columbia is the most expensive place in which to live, thanks to sky-high housing costs. In fact, B.C. residents pay a 38 per cent premium over Manitoba to live on the West Coast.

Here's how Manitoba stacks up against its three neighbours to the west:

(Figures based on a two-parent family, with three young children, making a taxable income of $75,000.)

Manitoba's taxes won't be causing defections from the West, as they're more than three times the amount the same family pays in Saskatchewan. The amounts also include health-care premiums for B.C. ($1,536).

(Taxes shown are for executive detached two-storey residences.)

Manitoba comes out ahead after a deduction of $700 in property tax rebates. Alberta and Saskatchewan don't offer credits for property taxes.

(Figures based on Statistics Canada's Survey of Household Spending.)

No contest here. Alberta has no sales tax. Manitoba is no bargain.

(Based on annual consumption of 11,350 litres [3,000 gallons] for a resident of Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Vancouver, respectively.)

Winnipeg comes in second place after the Manitoba budget's proposal to raise the provincial gasoline tax by 2.5 cents a litre. But even at 14 cents per litre, Manitoba's rate is less than B.C. or Saskatchewan.

(Annual mortgage bill based on an executive detached two-storey house, with half the house price financed over 25 years with a one-year closed mortgage of 3.48 per cent.)

Manitoba's low housing costs put us well ahead of its neighbours, with prices less than half what an equivalent family would pay in the Vancouver region.

(Based on annual fees, less subsidies, for three preschool children aged two to six for 260 days a year.)

(Based on the cost of 2,800 cubic metres of natural gas for an executive detached two-storey house.)

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