(21 March 2012)
Budget 2012: Keeping the Saskatchewan Advantage
The provincial budget was introduced on Wednesday, March 21st. Your Saskatchewan Party government campaigned last fall on a fiscally responsible platform. We delivered on those promises. At a time of economic prosperity, we believe that a responsible approach is to continue to spend your tax dollars wisely to ensure necessary programs and capital investments are sustainable into the future.
We have continued our promise to towns, cities and RMs to fund them at one point of the PST (20% of PST collected). This year, the increase in revenue sharing is over $20 Million to a record level of $237.4 Million in 2012-13. This is a substantial increase over funding in 2007. To see how much more money your town, city or RM has received, go to the Municipal Affairs website and select your community. As an example, the City of Martensville has seen more than 200% increase in revenue sharing since 2007.
Our communities continue to grow; they are among the fastest growing communities in all of Canada. We are making sure these communities have the infrastructure that will allow them to continue to grow. I am thrilled that the expansion of the Martensville High School has been approved in this budget. The added space will allow the school division to move higher grades from the elementary schools which will ease the space shortage in those schools. The Minister of Education has also introduced a new funding formula for school divisions. Prairie Spirit School Division will see an increase in provincial funding in this year. Sports and recreation is also an important component for any community. We have kept our campaign promise to help out our local rinks. The Community Rink Affordability Grant will provide an annual $2500.00 grant to assist communities to pay for the cost of operating indoor ice surfaces.
We are also making sure that our seniors continue to enjoy a good quality of life. We are keeping our promise to improve the Seniors Income Plan (SIP) for low-income seniors. In our last term, we more than doubled SIP benefits. In this budget, we will increase the benefit again (effective July 2012) by $50 per month. We will further increase SIP by $10 per month in each of the next 3 years. At the end of our second term, SIP will have tripled from 2007 levels. In addition, low-income seniors will receive the new Personal Care Home Benefit to assist with personal care home costs.
We have done these things and more within a balanced budget. Some say that a time of prosperity is not time to look at austerity measures. We disagree. Now is the time to make the right decisions to ensure that our province continues to grow and to make our spending and programs sustainable. We are a leader in Canada – we believe that this budget will ensure that we continue to be leaders.
Past MLA Reports