Manitoba Tories promise to remove tax on costly haircuts if re-elected

WINNIPEG — Manitoba's governing Progressive Conservatives are promising to remove the provincial sales tax from some haircuts if re-elected in the fall.

Rochelle Squires, MLA for the constituency of Riel in Winnipeg, says the tax on haircuts and other personal care services disproportionately affects women's expenses.

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In 2012, the NDP government at the time extended the sales tax to haircuts and other services costing more than $50.

The Tories say removing the tax would result in annual savings of $46 for a customer who gets a $110 wash, cut and colour six times a year.

A $74 haircut and straight-blade shave would see more than $5 in savings each visit.

The announcement follows one earlier this month to remove the provincial sales tax on home and renters insurance, which the NDP also implement in 2012.

Manitobans go to the polls Sept. 10.

"This tax benefit is one more way we are making life more affordable, particularly for women," Squires said in a news release Monday.

"This tax grab by the NDP was discriminatory because it mainly affected the services women use, while most men's haircuts are less than the $50 threshold that was in place."

She added it would also remove administrative burdens for small businesses such as salons.

NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine agreed the burden of the tax falls largely on women and it should be reconsidered. However, she pointed out that the PCs have cut female-focused services and delayed the opening of the women's hospital.

"Manitoba women and girls are not going to be fooled by this," Fontaine said.

Premier Brian Pallister has already signalled that tax cuts will be central to the campaign.

The Tories cut the provincial sales tax back to seven per cent from eight per cent as of July 1 to fulfil their biggest promise from the 2016 campaign.

"Manitobans wanting a haircut shouldn't have to pay an NDP haircut tax to do so," Pallister said in a news release.

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