POLITICS

New figures show one-month drop in retail sales following Manitoba tax hike.

09/24/2013 03:39 EDT | Updated 11/24/2013 05:12 EST
WINNIPEG - New figures show retail sales in Manitoba dropped sharply after the NDP government raised the provincial sales tax.

Statistics Canada says retail sales dropped by 4.1 per cent in July from the previous month, and mentions the July 1 sales tax increase to eight per cent from seven per cent.

The agency adds, however, that even with the drop, sales were slightly above the same month one year ago.

Opposition Tory Leader Brian Pallister says the NDP has taken money out of families' pockets and businesses are hurting.

Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton says Palliister is "cherry-picking" statistics, and says other economic indicators such as housing prices are doing well.

Ashton says raising the sales tax was not an easy decision, but a necessary one to fund infrastructure projects and preserve government programs.