(3 February 2010)
Support For Municipalities
Our government has been privileged to work in partnership over the last two years with municipalities across Saskatchewan. It is on the strength of those partnerships that we now ask cities, towns, villages and RMs for patience as we work toward full-implementation of a new revenue sharing formula.
At this year’s Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association convention, Premier Brad Wall told delegates our government would keep its promise to increase that formula to a full percentage point of the PST. Due to current financial challenges, the revenue sharing formula will remain at 90 per cent of one point of the PST for the 2010-11 budget. Increasing it to a full percentage point will happen next year.
I understand this is not the news you want from your government. But, I do ask for your patience. And in so doing, I offer our track record as proof of our commitment to revenue sharing.
Even before we sat down and worked out the formula for the 2011-2012 budget year, we exceeded our own campaign promises in regards to revenue sharing. In April 2008, the month land sales for oil and gas exploration hit new record highs, among the first to benefit were municipalities. Our government took the unusual step of amending the provincial budget to share that money with municipalities. We boosted revenue sharing by an additional eight per cent above and beyond the seven per cent increase that had been announced in the budget.
Our government’s commitment to supporting Saskatchewan’s municipalities goes beyond revenue sharing. Last year at this time, we unveiled the economic booster shot – 500 million dollars in infrastructure spending to keep Saskatchewan’s economy moving forward through the global recession. The first $100 million went to municipalities – per capita money with no strings attached.
In the year before the last election, municipal revenue sharing totaled $117.4 million. In this current budget year, under our government, it increased to $167.4 million. That’s an increase of $50 million – 42.5 per cent in two years.
Still, even as we look for savings in other parts of government we are not talking about cutting municipal funding. We will continue with multi-year infrastructure investments, and we will maintain last year’s level of municipal revenue sharing.
There are those who trade in dark and dire predictions of economic collapse, who now believe our best days are behind us. And, there are those who believe in Saskatchewan and still believe our best days will always be ahead of us. That is the reality of this new Saskatchewan – our Saskatchewan.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Don.
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