MLA Report (24 October 2008)
Throne Speech Outlines Major New Initiatives
Saskatchewan continues to experience unprecedented growth. This has translated into increased government revenues. This past summer, Premier Wall asked MLAs to canvass their constituents to see what their priorities were for this money. The themes were unified across the province – debt reduction; infrastructure; and tax relief.
Last week, your government delivered on these initiatives. Premier Wall announced the largest income tax cut in the history of the province. The basic personal exemption and spousal exemption were both increased by $4000.00; and the child benefit was increased by $2000.00. For a dual-income family with two children, that means that you can make $41,300.00/year before you pay any provincial income tax. For those individuals who pay no income tax, the refundable tax credit for lower income individuals that is included in the GST credit rebates is increased to $216 per person and $84 per child. Saskatchewan now has one of the most competitive personal income tax structures in the country.
We also have paid down the provincial debt by almost 40%. The debt has been decreased from $6.8 Billion to $4.2 Billion in less than a year. These are big numbers. To put it in perspective, in the 10 months since we were elected, the debt has been reduced at a rate of $5,000.00 per minute. The province will realize a savings on debt interest of almost $900 million over the next 5 years.
In this spring’s budget, we announced a $1.0 billion infrastructure fund. We have increased this fund to $1.5 billion to make sure Saskatchewan continues to be ready for growth by repairing and building roads, schools and hospitals.
We committed to Saskatchewan residents that everyone would benefit from this prosperity. Last week the Social Services Minister announced an historic $76.9 million commitment to persons with disabilities. One of the first things that will be addressed is the current 440-person waitlist for residential, day and specialized programs for people with intellectual disabilities.
Your government also understands that seniors are facing the pressures of an increased cost of living. The Saskatchewan Income Assistance Program for seniors hasn’t been increased since 1992. This shows the exceptional neglect of our seniors by the NDP over the past 16 years. In last week’s Speech from the Throne we committed to increasing this necessary supplement. Watch for an announcement on new funding coming soon.
I want to thank all of you who contacted me and my office over the summer with your input on how Saskatchewan people should benefit from our province’s growth. For information on these announcements and others from the Throne Speech, please feel free to contact my office or visit the government’s website.
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