Legislative Report (20 August 2008)
Historic Debt Reduction
Record resource revenues have allowed our government to play a role in Saskatchewan’s history. In just nine months, we have reduced the debt by nearly one-third, by $2 billion this year alone - the largest commitment to debt reduction in Saskatchewan history.
This was made possible by two things: the strength of the Saskatchewan economy and a new law passed by our government that commits one-half of all provincial surpluses to debt reduction (the other half goes toward sustaining the economic momentum through things like infrastructure and tax reduction).
Our commitment to debt reduction will ensure Saskatchewan’s future prosperity by cutting interest payments by hundreds of millions of dollars and freeing up resources that can be used for priorities like highways, education, tax reduction and healthcare.
HUMBOLDT FINALLY GETTING NEW HOSPITAL
You could actually “see” our government’s commitment to ensure healthcare needs are met this week in Humboldt. A backhoe bit into the ground as part of a sod-breaking ceremony for the community’s long overdue new hospital. Construction on the Humboldt District Hospital is expected to be complete by 2010. For more than ten years, the NDP promised the people of Humboldt they would receive new healthcare facilities, but never delivered. In only nine months, we have.
SASKATCHEWAN’S ECONOMY CONTINUES TO LEAD CANADA
The importance of sustaining the economic momentum was underscored again this week by the latest wholesale trade and retail sales numbers. Between June of 2007 and June of 2008, Saskatchewan led Canada with a 53.7 per cent increase in wholesale trade, a staggering ten times the national average. Alberta was number two, with an increase of just 8.6 per cent. We are also number one in retail sales growth, with a year-over-year increase of 13.5 per cent. By comparison, our neighbour to the west only saw growth of 0.2 per cent. This kind of economic performance is further evidence of how Saskatchewan is surging ahead thanks to the innovation and the work ethic of our people and businesses.
INCREASED FUNDING FOR REGIONAL PARKS
In recognition of the important role regional parks play in the tourism industry and lives of Saskatchewan families, our government is increasing funding for them. Many of those parks are in need of repairs and upgrades, which is why our government is increasing a grant program which allows regional parks to perform upgrades from $75,000 a year to $600,000. The increase in funding to regional parks, along with changes made to our provincial parks system, is part of our renewed vision for the role of parks in Saskatchewan. We also believe that our parks system can help to grow a tourism industry that showcases our natural and cultural heritage.
WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?
Debt reduction and investment in infrastructure are two areas the people of Saskatchewan have told us the growing surplus should be used to address. Tax reductions have also been identified as a priority area. What are your priorities? The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2008. Tell me or make a submission on-line at the Saskatchewan Party Caucus website by clicking on “Sharing the Benefits.”
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Don.
Past Legislative Reports