Saskatchewan premier says no surprises in federal budget
REGINA - Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the new federal budget doesn't - in his words - "light up the night sky" when it comes to new initiatives.
Wall says there aren't a lot of surprises in the budget tabled Tuesday by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
But the premier says that's OK because he likes to see fiscal probity.
Wall likes Ottawa's plan to forgive student loans for doctors and nurses willing to work in rural and remote areas, as well as the plan to continue with corporate tax cuts.
It may not matter because all three federal opposition leaders rejected the budget, setting the stage for a non-confidence vote that would send Canadians to the polls within weeks.
Wall says he's disappointed because he doesn't think the country needs a federal election right now.
(The Canadian Press)
Hi all and welcome to our live blog and streaming of the Saskatchewan Budget 2011-12.
We have a number of reporters at the Legislature ready to bring you reaction from the budget and local producers to bring you the budget numbers.
Not much waiting left! Budget to be released in the next few minutes. Getting ready for the flurry of activity!.
Dr. David McGrane is also joining us to offer his insight as to what the numbers mean to you and the province.
Hello! I am looking forward to discussing the provincial budget with you today.
As well, please send us any questions you may have.
Welcome David. Perhaps you can give us a brief overview of what we may see in todays "election" budget.
I would look for some new spending initiatives to please a large number of groups. The government needs to make everyone happy going into an election year.
Answer 1: I don't think that there will be anything in the budget specifically about contracts. But increased funding to health and education could pave the way for settlements in these sectors leading up to an election.
Answer 2: The government probably wants to avoid any disruptions in public services leading up to an election. But, the essential services legislation is there in case any union decides not to fall in line. The legislation will reduce disruptions leading into an election.
The budget should be tabled within the next 5 minutes.
Finance Minister Ken Krawetz tables a balanced budget.
GRF pre-transfer surplus, where revenue exceed expense, of $115 million
Budget surplus of $54.3 million
Forecast 4.2% real GDP growth in 2011 and 2.8% in 2012
Revenue of $10.79 billion, up 8.5% from last year
Spending up 5.5% to $10.67 billion, an increase of $555.2 million
6.2% increase in health spending to $4.46 billion, up $260.3 million
9.1% increase in education spending to $1.43 billion, up $119.3 million
3.2% increase in advanced education, employment and immigration spending to $885.9 million, up $26.4 million
8% increase in social services spending to $814.2 million, up $60 million
Of course, these are just estimates. The final spending and revenues numbers won't be known until July 2011...months after the provincial elections.
Debt reduced by $325 million
General Public Debt forecast at $3.8 billion for March 31, 2012
Watch for the 'New Saskatchewan' references!
Personal income tax reductions
Increase basic and spousal personal tax credit by $1,000
Increase exemption for dependent children by $500
Together, estimated to save taxpayers $60 million. Family of 4 earning $50,000 combined income should save $2,447 in income tax this year. 22,000 expected to come off the tax rolls with the reduction.
Population growth will be a Saskatchewan Party campaign theme during the next election.
Estimates based on
CDN$ 99.3 in 2011, 100.6 in 2012 (US cents)
Oil 93.00/barrel (US$)
Natural Gas 3.50/GJ (CDN$)
Potash 390.76/KCI tonne (US$)
Small business income tax rate decreased from 4.5% to 2% effective July 1, 2011
Together, estimated to save small businesses $80 million
Education property taxes reduced $55.6 million - $31.3 million on farm land, $18.7 million on residents and $5.6 million on commercial property
$250 million increase to Regional Health Authority base funding ($2.8 billion total base funding).