REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili and Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon reacted to the Sask. Party’s 2022-23 Budget that deepens the affordability crisis and has lost touch with the needs of Saskatchewan families. With no new relief measures, 32 new taxes and fees and no support for seniors or students who need support post-pandemic, this budget reveals a government that has lost track of what’s most important to Saskatchewan people.
“At a time when Saskatchewan families need a lifeline, the Sask. Party has thrown them an anchor. Hard-working people are struggling with increased costs at the grocery store, at the pump and in their housing but this government isn’t listening. Not only does this budget not offer any relief for families just trying to make ends meet, it increases taxes and fees when people are already struggling to make ends meet,” said Meili. “These are very serious times, with increased uncertainty caused by world events. Saskatchewan people deserve solutions to serious problems. Budget 2022 fails to offer any vision to grow our province.”
Saskatchewan has the slowest population growth in the country. Saskatchewan-based companies are looking to invest capital elsewhere, while the province will once again have the dubious distinction of having the lowest minimum wage in Canada as of April 1. Despite Saskatchewan residents indicating they were most concerned about the cost of living increases, and Saskatchewan leading the nation in mortgage delinquencies, this provincial budget offers no relief to Saskatchewan families.
“The Sask. Party is cranking up costs, nickel-and-diming folks at a time they desperately need relief. We need to be supporting our hospitality and tourism sector and encouraging people to come together as communities. Instead, we see new tax measures that make events less accessible for Saskatchewan families,” said Wotherspoon. “This is a budget soaring with resource revenues that don’t trickle down to people crushed by cost of living increases. We need investments that secure our future. This budget fails to deliver the relief Saskatchewan people need.”
The Sask. Party’s Budget 2022 is failing families by:
- Offering no economic relief to families struggling to make ends meet;
- Failing to invest in education, after three disruptive school years for students and while educators are leaving the profession;
- Hiking the PST on items such as Riders games, rodeos, movie theatres, craft shows, curling fees and gym memberships;
- Increasing property taxes;
- Leaving Saskatchewan with the lowest minimum wage in Canada;
- Failing to prepare Saskatchewan for changing labour force needs and diversify our economic development;
- Slashing workforce development by 41% at a time when we need to be training to extend opportunities.
Meili also pointed out that Budget 2022 leaves people behind, offering little to those that need it the most.
“The last two years have been devastating for seniors in long-term care, but we see little to no support for seniors struggling on fixed incomes. Nothing for second stage housing for those fleeing violence, despite nation-leading rates of domestic violence. In the face of an opioid epidemic, we again see no assistance in community-led harm reduction initiatives.”
“After a disruptive three school years, our students deserve to see a commitment to get them back on track, yet instead we see a budget that doesn’t cover the basic cost of inflation, forcing schools to further cut classrooms and services. This budget proves that the Sask. Party government has lost track of the realities facing Saskatchewan people. ”