Provincial Budget Strikes The Right Balance
Following the release of a Provincial Budget, I always anticipate feedback from stakeholders and constituents. The 2019-20 provincial budget was no different as it represented the fulfilment of our government’s 3-year plan to reduce our reliance on non-renewable resource revenues and bring the budget back to balance.
Many have expressed their appreciation for a balanced budget with no new taxes or tax increases. This signals to them that we have found the right balance between keeping taxes low and providing quality services for our children, families, and seniors; the right balance between important investments in urban and rural Saskatchewan; and the right balance for building our economy and creating jobs. I was pleased to stand in the Legislature during the Budget debate to express that support for this important document.
While there are no new taxes, no tax increases, and the education property tax remains unchanged, this budget includes record funding for health, education, and highway safety.
Health care is very important to our government, and this is reflected in the budget. There will be increased investment on targeted mental health and addiction initiatives, the largest commitment ever to mental health services in our province.
Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will receive more support as individualized funding for children under age six increases from $4,000 to $6,000 annually. Services for families and friends providing care to someone with Dementia will also be expanded. Funding has doubled for the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan to provide their First Link Services.
The new joint-use school for Moose Jaw has been the topic of many enthusiastic conversations. It is encouraging that over 100 people attended an information meeting to discuss the future of this exciting project to replace Empire, Westmount, St. Mary and Sacred Heart Schools. In addition to capital projects, Saskatchewan’s 27 school divisions will receive $1.9 billion in school operating funding for the 2019-20 school year, an increase of $26.2 million over last year’s budget. The Education budget also includes an increase for public libraries, bringing total library funding to $11.2 million.
Rural Saskatchewan residents and businesses contribute in a huge way to our economy. Efficient wireless service is needed for them to continue to do that. Rural communities will have better wireless services through continuing improvements to coverage. Enhanced coverage helps connect everyone from the farm to the city, and we are going to keep working to improve our wireless networks in Saskatchewan.
The Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce has indicated that they are happy with the way the new provincial budget was presented and feels that it is moving Saskatchewan in a good direction. The Right Balance maintains the province’s AAA credit rating and, more importantly, keeps our economy strong so we can continue to increase investment in health, education, and infrastructure to make life better for all the people of our province.
On an additional note; I want to acknowledge and thank people from across the province who attended and supported the recent Regina Rally Against the Carbon Tax. This was the largest truck convoy ever organized anywhere in the world and served an opportunity to stand up for the industries that drive growth in our province. It was encouraging to see thousands of people standing together to say NO to the federal government’s harmful anti-pipeline and anti-tanker bills, and NO to the Trudeau carbon tax.
Your Saskatchewan Party government will continue to use every tool at our disposal to challenge the federal government’s imposition of this tax. We will keep standing up for you, your family and your job, for pipelines, for market access and most certainly against the job-killing Trudeau carbon tax.