Reaction to the 2018 Provincial Budget is as expected mixed.
Saskatchewan Teachers Federation:
The President of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, Patrick Maze, today acknowledged Premier Scott Moe has made good on his promise to reinstate $30 million in education funding — a promise he made during the recent leadership race.
However, Maze said that doesn’t make up for the $54 million taken out of classrooms last year.
“Inflation was running at 1.7 percent last year and is currently tracking at 2.7 percent in Saskatchewan, so a 1.6 percent increase in education spending this year won’t keep up with inflationary pressures,” Maze said in a news release.
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour:
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is disappointed the Sask. Party government gave up an opportunity to invest in Saskatchewan workers and create good jobs.
Premier Scott Moe’s first budget offered no change from the Wall-era policies of heartless cuts, ballooning deficits, and disrespect for workers.
“Unfortunately, what we saw in today’s budget was more of the same. Same old cuts, same old unfair tax hikes, and the same old refusal to create good jobs by investing in workers,” said Larry Hubich, SFL president in a news release, “we will take some time to consider the lasting impacts of this budget, but it is pretty clear that Saskatchewan people do not support these types of short-sighted decisions,” he added.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere:
Regina’s Mayor is pleased to see the restoration of some of the revenue lost in the provincial government’s 2016/17 budget.
Today’s budget release confirms the creation of a new Grants In Lieu of Property Taxes program and the return of a 5 per cent SaskEnergy bill surcharge that will
help make up revenue retained by the province last year.
“These allocations will not make the city whole, but we are encouraged the province is following through on its commitment to provide a stable, predictable solution to the
issues we faced last year,” said Mayor Michael Fougere.
“The government has to make tough decisions right now, but we all want the same thing: fair and sustainable
programs that recognize the circumstances of individual communities.”
The Saskatchewan Provincial Government lived up to their campaign promise for funding vision loss rehabilitation made to CNIB on March 17, 2016, in today’s budget address.
“I am pleased to say that even in these tough economic times, the Government of Saskatchewan has stayed true to their commitment and the Ministry of Health has taken the final step towards vision loss rehabilitation integration into the continuum of healthcare with the final increase of funding of $250,000. By doing so, they have acknowledged this is an important right for those with vision loss and is no different than when someone breaks their hip and needs to access rehabilitation services,” said Christall Beaudry, CNIB’s Executive Director.
The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) is relieved to see that today’s provincial budget is maintaining support for Saskatchewan hometowns.
In today’s budget, the provincial government is reinstating the SaskEnergy municipal surcharge to 109 of our municipalities who saw it cut last year. The surcharge will also be extended to all Saskatchewan cities, towns and villages.
“We appreciate the return of SaskEnergy funding to our 109 municipalities that lost out last year,” said SUMA President Gordon Barnhart. “This funding helps our municipalities provide instrumental services.”
Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association:
If you want to be rich, first build a road. The phrase is popular among the Chinese business community, though the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association (SHCA) wished the Saskatchewan Party adopted that same mentality when it considered its 2018 budget for the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure. Outlined in the budget, which was unveiled Tuesday, was a $924.5-million total budget for the ministry. Capital projects will see $673 million, and the Regina Bypass will receive $330 million. Shantel Lipp, president of the SHCA, said there is little to no change from the 2017 budget, something that carries good and not so good connotations.
“We anticipated that it was going to be a modest budget,” Lipp admitted. “There’s not a lot of growth, but they didn’t pull back on any projects they committed to.”
“Saskatchewan people want to move forward, to see improvements in their lives and better opportunities for their children. But we are still mired in the financial mess created by the Sask Party government’s waste and mismanagement,” says SGEU President Bob Bymoen, in response to the 2018-19 budget.
This year’s hold-the-line budget does not begin to undo the harm done to Saskatchewan families and communities by the disastrous 2017-18 budget, according to Bymoen.
“Saskatchewan people are still paying the price for the deep cuts inflicted by government’s financial decisions last year. Those unprecedented and heartless cuts are still hurting special needs kids, seniors, post-secondary students, and working families,” says Bymoen.
Saskatchewan School Boards Association:
Saskatchewan’s school boards are encouraged that some funding was restored in the provincial budget for 2018-19 announced today, but are calling for renewed investment in education going forward.
“We are pleased that Premier Scott Moe is committed to keeping the promise from his leadership campaign and the government has restored some funding for education,” said Dr. Shawn Davidson, president of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association. “Premier Moe said that education must be a top priority and we thank him and Minister of Education Gordon Wyant for their reprioritization of support for our province’s students.
“However, we know the funding announced today only goes so far in terms of meeting the pressures being faced in classrooms across Saskatchewan,” Davidson continued. “We also need to ensure predictable and sustainable funding is in place to support innovation and improvement in the system for many years to come.”