Answer 7: I think that it just a bit more 'under-whelming' than I expected. Nothing huge on the spending or taxing side. Maybe, the Sask Party thinks that they are cruising into an election and doesn't need to do anything big or maybe they are keeping their powder dry for promises at election time.
NDP reaction: “Times may be good for our resource sector and we can see the impact that increased demand for our products has had on the government’s bottom line,” Lingenfelter said. “But it’s disgraceful that the Wall government has done so little to help those who need help coping with the increased cost of living when it had so much to work with. This may go down in the books as the most uninspiring way anyone has ever spent $11 billion dollars.”
More NDP: With record revenues, Lingenfelter said the Wall government is ignoring the needs of Saskatchewan people including families searching for affordable and accessible childcare and early learning, those coping with sky-high housing costs, seniors on fixed incomes struggling with increasing utility rates, and students paying ever-increasing tuition for post-secondary education. Lingenfelter also noted the absence of any significant green energy initiatives in the government’s plan.
Question 8: David, does the forecast prices on non-renewable resources seem reasonable?
In response to NDP concerns about rent control, the government has introduced two new programs in the housing area. The Saskatchewan Rental Incentive Program give municipalities money to develop rental units and the Headstart on a Home program which seems like grants for low-income new homes.
To question 8: It is very hard to say...who can predict the future?
Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce gives this budget an A- up from last years budget which received a B. Chamber says the education property tax is still too cumbersome for business owners.
To question 8: At $2.8 billion it doesn't seem out of whack. It seems that they have learnt their lesson when it comes to overestimating resource revenues.
Details about funding for Aboriginals and Métis
Throughout the budget, there is $167.2 million for Saskatchewan’s First Nations and Metis citizens – an increase of $13.1 million or 8.5 per cent – ranging from education to health.
- $3.6 million: maintain funding for current Treaty Land Entitlement Agreements
- $490,000: new Northern Action Plan – three year plan with the goal to reduce suicide rates and drug use among youth in Northern Saskatchewan
- $350,000: support First Nations and Métis engagement in consultations on the Children and Youth Agenda
The Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce gives budget an A- : “While the government took significant steps to correct education property tax flaws, the system remains too cumbersome and is still uncompetitive for business property taxpayers.” stated Kent Smith-Windsor, Executive Director, of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce. The province must be more aggressive in lowering education property tax levels and adopting the Canada West Report, “A Change Today for Your Tomorrow.”
More from the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce: The lack of harmonization of provincial sales taxes positions Saskatchewan poorly nationally and internationally from a competitiveness perspective. “A Change Today For A Better Tomorrow” offers three alternatives to offset this competitive disadvantage.
The spending on renters, reducing taxes for the working poor, increasing money for social assistance seems targetted to NDP supporters. The Saskatchewan Party may be targetting certain NDP seats in lower-income areas in the next election.
Question 9: David, is there an advantage or disadvantage to having a harmonized sales tax?
Forest fire fighting and SARCAN depot get boost in budget
The Government of Saskatchewan is putting millions of dollars towards keeping the province green and to save it from the effects of natural disaster.
Wildfire management is receiving the most money, with fire season coming up soon. Money is also being allocated towards supporting SARCAN, which recycles plastic bottles.
The government is also giving money towards insect and disease control, and funding the Watershed Authority, which monitors flooding in the province.
- $57.5 million: wildfire management
- $20.6 million: operating funding to support SARCAN, up $2.9 million from last year
- $15.3 million: Green initiatives, including $1.8 million for SARCAN capital, to support projects that address Saskatchewan’s most important environmental issues
- $4.4 million: maintain funding for the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority
- $2.2 million: insect and disease control program (fight against mountain pine beetle and spruce budworm and continued monitoring of Dutch Elm Disease), increase of $1.6 million
Answer 9: The advantage is that a harmonized sales tax is cheaper for business and makes your economy more competitive. The disadvantage is that it is more expensive for consumers and therefore quite unpopular with voters. Just ask Gordon Campbell :)
I told you that the 'new Saskatchewan' thing was coming!
Budget speech pushing one hour.
We are supposed to be getting all choked up now :)
Saskatchewan's Opposition says the provincial budget doesn't go far enough to help many people
The budget tabled in the legislature today offers tax breaks on how much people can earn before having to fork over cash to the government.
It also brings long-awaited cuts to the education portion of property taxes and cuts the small business tax rate.
There's $216.8 million for municipalities, who finally get their promised one point share of the provincial sales tax.
But NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter says for all the money announced, the budget lacks vision.
Lingenfelter says it won't help farm families who waded through severe flooding and won't be paying any income tax this year because they have no income.
He says it doesn't help low-income people who aren't paying any income tax or renters looking for affordable housing.
(The Canadian Press)
Question 10: Keep hearing about the Saskatchewan Advantage. Is this going to be the Sask Party's election slogan?
Answer 10: I think that the 'Saskatchewan Advantage' could be it. I thought that it would the 'New Saskatchewan'...but maybe they have changed their mind.
It will be interesting to see how aggressive the NDP is now.
If you are the NDP, you want to be critical but not so over the top that you turn people off.
Good point Jeremy, totally forgot about the Alberta Advantage.
The NDP appears a bit reserved.
Though, he is starting to slowly warm up and seem a bit less scripted now.
The NDP seems to be developing the campaign theme that it wants to represent those left out of the 'boom'.
Question 11: Any initial overall thoughts on the budget David and the NDP's response?
Answer 11: Well, the government spread what they had very thin....everybody got something. In this sense, it was mission accomplished for the government. I can't see who will feel slighted by this budget.
Answer 11 cont.: On the other hand, I don't what the government did in this budget to make the average voter (who pays little attention to politics) sit up and pay attention. They may waiting for the election campaign to let us in on their big ideas.
Anyway you slice it David, I guess the provicial election campaign is unofficially underway.
As for the NDP, there is not a lot to shoot at in this budget. The government was not excessively mean-spirited and even gave some things to lower income people.
Look for the NDP to go after resource royalities and rent control.
Question 12: David, will resource royalties really capture the attention of the general public?
We will be wrapping up our live blogging of the budget in a few minutes. I would like to thank Dr. David McGrane, Political Studies Professor at the University of Saskatchewan for joining us and offering his insight on the budget.
Thanks also to all our reporters and producers who were part of the live blog.
And to everyone who tuned in to watch the budget and asked questions and comments, thank you!
I would like to thank Global for inviting me to participate. It was very interesting.
Be sure to watch the Evening News @ 6 on Global Saskatoon and Global Regina for complete coverage of today's budget and look for an op-ed from Dr. McGrane tomorrow on the budget.
I will be signing off. Look for an answer to the final question "David, will resource royalties really capture the attention of the general public?" in my op-ed tomorrow!