MLA Report (17 December 2008)
Your Government's Accomplishments This Fall
The 2008 fall legislative session adjourned in early December. The session brought plenty of good news for Saskatchewan residents, capping one of the best years in our province’s history. Here is a brief review of the initiatives your Saskatchewan Party government introduced in the legislature this fall:
- reduced personal income taxes by raising the basic and spousal personal exemptions by $4,000 and increased the child tax credit by $2,000 – retroactive for 2008 so most people should see significant refunds on their tax returns this spring;
- for those who pay no taxes, we increased the Low Income Tax Credit (a provincial tax credit included in GST refund cheques) to $216 per adult and $84 per child;
- increased the amount of debt to be paid down for a total 2008 debt paydown of $2.6 billion (or $5,000 per minute);
- increased our record investment in infrastructure renewal from $1 billion to $1.5 billion during the next fiscal year;
- increased the Seniors Income Plan for the first time in 16 years (this is a provincial supplement for low income seniors);
- increased assistance for persons with disabilities;
- improvements to the Graduate Retention Program;
- $10 million to enhance information technology in schools, public libraries and regional colleges;
- $100 million in improvements to health facilities throughout the province;
- a "Patient First" review of the health care system;
- a new five-year program to sell agricultural Crown land to producers;
- a massive expansion of high-speed Internet and cellular phone coverage by SaskTel;
- new legislation to assist renters;
- new legislation to fight crime and gang activity;
- democratic reform legislation which will allow Saskatchewan voters to elect Senate nominees;
- proclaimed legislation that prohibits expiry dates on gift cards and gift certificates;
- a ban on smoking in Saskatchewan workplaces; and
- a five-year rolling plan for highway construction.
Although Saskatchewan’s future has never looked brighter, there remain significant challenges ahead of us in 2009. In the coming year, I will continue to be a voice for you in Regina. I am committed to helping our province achieve the things our parents and grandparents dreamed about for decades in Saskatchewan, only to be told by the NDP that it couldn’t be done and that there was no money. Little wonder when they chased business investment and resource exploration away from Saskatchewan.
Please accept my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Enjoy this holiday season with your loved ones and try to do something for those less fortunate. And please be safe in your travels!
Past MLA Reports