(25 March 2010)
Balanced, Forward-Looking, Responsible
Our government announced its third consecutive balanced budget today, which was achieved through a combination of reduced spending, caution on revenue projections and a commitment to living within our means.
- Spending has been reduced by 1.2 per cent, or $123 million.
- Revenue is forecast at $9.95 billion, with cautious resource revenue projections of $1.1 billion for oil and $221 million from potash.
- The budget also includes $194 million from the Growth and Financial Security Fund, leaving a balance of $510 million in the provincial savings account.
- These measures result in a General Revenue Fund surplus of $20 million.
- Spending is down in 14 different ministries.
- We will pay less for debt servicing; due to the fact our government has reduced the provincial debt by $2.6 billion, or approximately 40 per cent, since 2007.
- We have set a goal of reducing the size of the public service by 15 per cent over the next four years, mainly by not replacing people who retire or move on to other opportunities.
- What school divisions can collect in education property taxes will be maintained at 2009-2010 levels (i.e. while school taxes won’t go down this year, they also won’t go up). We still intend to make further reductions by the end of our first term.
- The only tax increases are on tobacco – an increase of 2.7 cents per cigarette. The tax-free allowance on tobacco for First Nations is also being reduced, from three cartons a week to one carton.
- Liquor prices will also go up by an average 50 cents for a 750 ml bottle of spirits and 75 cents for one dozen bottled beer.
- Municipal revenue sharing will be maintained at last year’s historic 43 per cent increase or $167.4 million. Our government remains committed to increasing that amount to the equivalent of 100% of one point of the PST by the end of our first term.
Our government has presented a balanced, forward-looking and responsible budget to the people of Saskatchewan. The path we have chosen is not the easy path, but it is the path that will keep our province’s economic momentum going. It is the right path for the new Saskatchewan - the growing, optimistic, self-assured Saskatchewan. We are looking to the future with confidence and hope. As we move forward into 2010, we will work hard to ensure that our best days are still ahead.
- $385.5 million for Agriculture, approximately three-quarters of which will go to fully-funding programs such as Agri-Stability, AgriInvest and Crop Insurance.
- No programs or services for producers are being cut.
- An increase of $33 million in funding for school divisions, including a $17.2 million investment to build and improve schools, more child care spaces and 18 new pre-kindergarten programs.
- A $4.2 billion health budget, which includes funding to address surgical wait times, doctor recruitment and training, improve cancer treatment and $2.5 million in new funding for autism services.
- $551 million to build, operate and maintain highways, including 470 kilometres of rural highways, 600 km of resurfacing and $36 million to repair or replace bridges and culverts.
- A new program called “Headstart on a Home,” which will help eligible lower-to-moderate income families realize their dreams of owning a home, as our government continues to make a significant investment in addressing the issues of affordable housing and child and family services.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Don.
Past Legislative Reports