Report from the Legislature
March 30, 2017
Saskatchewan’s diversified economy continues to attract new investment with 185 construction jobs and 555 permanent jobs announced in the past week alone.
This includes Brandt’s expansion plans to supply renewable power, Grain Millers $100 million expansion in Yorkton and two new G3 grain elevators near Melville and Saskatoon.
This activity highlights the importance of maintaining the Saskatchewan Advantage: a positive investment climate that encourages job creation across our province.
As you know, resource revenue in Saskatchewan has declined by more than $1 billion over the past three years, depleting reserves and the rainy-day fund.
Due to the resource sector slowdown, tax revenue is also down by hundreds of millions while record population growth is putting pressure on vital services.
On March 22, our government delivered a plan to meet this challenge.
We are taking revenue measures to help meet the current financial challenge, provide greater revenue stability, and move our revenue base away from its reliance on resource revenue.
In doing this, we have committed to controlling and reducing government spending, modernizing and expanding Saskatchewan’s tax system, and ensuring our economy remains strong.
This means we are making difficult decisions today to ensure core public services like health care, education and social services are sustainable for the long-term.
At a time when other governments are making the decision to run deficits indefinitely, our plan returns Saskatchewan to a balanced budget in three years.
When fully implemented, Saskatchewan will have:
- The lowest PST rate in Canada among provinces with a PST;
- The lowest to third-lowest personal income taxes in Canada, depending on income;
- The lowest corporate income and manufacturing tax rates in Canada;
- Nation leading innovation incentives; and
- No carbon tax of any kind.
A well-renowned Canadian economic and tax expert, Jack Mintz, agrees that it is a fiscally prudent plan to balance the budget while improving Saskatchewan’s competitive advantage:
“Saskatchewan looks to reduce barriers to growth by getting government out of the way… Saskatchewan’s budget is a dream for fiscally prudent voters: it keeps spending down, starts balancing the books, and shifts taxation to less distortionary revenue sources.”
Meeting the challenge is vitally important now and for the future. Saskatchewan’s 2017-18 Provincial Budget is meeting the challenge.
As we settle into spring, some of us are starting to plan for summer. Next week, you can start securing campsites through the provincial park reservation system. The staggered launch, with different parks opening for reservations over a 10-day period, begins this coming Tuesday, April 4.
You can learn more about the launch, including tutorials and booking tips at www.saskparks.net/Reserve-a-Site.
This year, Saskatchewan’s provincial parks will be celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary. On Canada Day (Saturday, July 1) and Canada’s Parks Day (Saturday, July 15), entry to all Saskatchewan provincial parks will be free.
In addition to these free entry days, there will be special events throughout the provincial park system. More details on these programs will be announced later this spring, and information will be available on www.saskparks.net.