"Every budget has modest changes on the margin, that's always the case," Selinger told reporters in an apparent reference to tobacco taxes and other minor levies that have been increased regularly.
"But we plan to move forward with the resources we've got, and we will keep Manitoba among the most affordable places to live in the country."
Selinger made the comments at the close of the NDP's annual convention, which included a spirited defence of the government's recent move to raise the provincial sales tax to eight per cent from seven per cent as of July 1.
"We know we need roads, we know we need clean sewers and water, we know we need schools," Selinger told delegates in his closing speech.
Selinger and his chief of staff, Liam Martin, spent part of the weekend telling delegates the NDP is taking the steps needed to invest in infrastructure and protect front-line services. They painted the Opposition Progressive Conservatives, who have called for spending cuts instead of the sales tax hike, as draconian.
Selinger's previous attempts to rule out tax hikes have come back to haunt him. In a television interview during the 2011 election campaign, he called the idea of a sales tax hike "ridiculous." The NDP also said it was on track to balance the budget without tax hikes. But after winning re-election, the party raised taxes two years in a row.
Selinger's budget plan calls for a deficit this year of $518 million, which is to be reduced to zero by the 2016-17 fiscal year. Much of that depends on the government's revenue projections, which call for between $400 million and $500 million in extra revenue each and every year.
That amount can include higher federal transfer payments, tax or fee increases, and extra revenue due to economic growth.
Selinger said the deficit can be tackled.
"Our plan is to do it with the resources we have. The deficit is .8 of one per cent of GDP. That's very reasonable by any measure around the world."
New Democrat delegates passed dozens of resolutions at the weekend meeting, one of which supported the government's plan to take in new revenues, although it did not mention the sales tax by name.
Delegates also voted Sunday to press the government to provide paid leave to victims of domestic violence — something Selinger says he will consider.
Delegates also pressed for the government to raise welfare housing allowances to 75 per cent of rental market values. The NDP has so far rejected the exact same call from poverty rights groups and the Opposition.
Selinger said he will consider the motion, and said his government has already increased social housing and other benefits for low-income renters.Suggest a correction