The people of Saskatchewan are still hurting from the heartless cuts and massive tax hikes made by the Sask. Party’s last budget, and now we’re seeing more of the same shortsightedness in this budget as the debt continues to pile on, funding for education still hasn’t been restored to 2016 levels and Saskatchewan people are paying more but getting less.
“When Saskatchewan people look at this budget, they will wonder where is the inspiration? Where is the hope? Where is the leadership? What this budget shows is that Saskatchewan is being kept in a railway siding, meanwhile the debt is on track to triple since 2008 and there is no investment in prosperity,” said NDP Finance Critic Cathy Sproule.
Outside of Newfoundland & Labrador, Saskatchewan has the slowest job growth in the country, and this budget does nothing to help get people back to work. Moreover, while people struggle to find work, the Sask. Party has Saskatchewan families paying more. Budget documents show that in just two years, families saw a 60 per cent increase in the sales tax they owe ($667/year) and a 10 per cent increase in their electricity bills ($132/year).
The NDP has been calling on the Sask. Party to fully restore the $54 million that they cut from education, but the Sask. Party failed to do that in this budget despite demands of teachers and the number of students increasing.
Sproule was encouraged that the Sask. Party finally listened to calls that the NDP had been making to fund HIV medication and autism supports. However, she noted that the cut to the housing rental supplement and the lack of investment in early learning and childcare will hurt the province’s most vulnerable.
This budget saw a drop in infrastructure funding and changes to municipal grants in lieu, which means that cities and towns throughout the province will be forced to have their citizens pay more.
“With Saskatchewan seeing a slow rate of job growth, and people struggling to make ends meet, we expected to see more in this budget that will help foster long-term growth and prosperity in our province, but that wasn’t the case,” Sproule said. “All we are seeing is higher taxes on used cars and cannabis on top of the huge increase in fees, and ballooning spending on Boundary Dam 3 and the Regina Bypass. That approach doesn’t help families now or down the road.”