MLA Report (18 March 2009)
Lower Property Taxes Thanks to 2009 Budget
March 18th was Budget Day. Since the election on November 7, 2007, your Saskatchewan Party government has kept over 100 of our promises. We have kept more promises in this budget. Two major issues that were outstanding were 1) a long-term solution to how education is funded and corresponding education property taxes; and 2) a better revenue-sharing deal with municipalities. We have accomplished both in this budget – more promises kept.
For too long, education funding was unbalanced with disproportionate funding resting on the shoulders of property owners. With 2009 being a property reassessment year, this burden was projected to be even greater with across the board education property tax increases. In this budget, we have reduced the allowable mill rate charged by school boards to 10.08 on residential properties this year (further reduced to 9.51 in 2010); and 7.08 on agricultural land this year (3.91 in 2010). This is a substantial reduction from an average of 22 mill rate on residential property. Even after reassessment, many property owners will be paying less in 2009 than they did in 2008.
The provincial government will now fund a far greater share of education and will rely less on property owners for the funding of education.
Governments have increasingly been offloading to municipalities. Under the NDP, transfers to municipalities were severely cut. We have worked hard to rectify this problem by committing in this budget to a new revenue-sharing arrangement. In the last election, the Saskatchewan Party promised “a new revenue sharing deal with municipalities that will include a percentage of the provincial government’s own source revenue.” (2007 Sask Party election platform). We have kept that promise. Municipalities will receive 90% of one point of the PST collected by the province this year. This will increase to one full point in 2010. This translates into $167 million for municipalities this year. For years, municipalities have struggled to keep up with the pressures of fixing/ replacing aging infrastructure. Even in the face of a global economic downturn, Saskatchewan remains relatively strong and many communities are facing pressures from continued growth. These additional funds will help communities meet these needs.
We have kept our promises within a balanced budget. While we are not immune to the global economic downturn, Saskatchewan remains relatively strong and is likely to be the only province in the country to deliver a truly balanced budget this year.
Your government believes that it is vital that a government keep their promises. It is what residents expect and deserve. In this budget, we have fulfilled even more of the promises we made to you. For more information on Budget 2009, please go to the Ministry of Finance website.
Past MLA Reports