It’s budget day in Saskatchewan AND Canada — and there will be plenty of focus on the nation’s fiscal picture.
In this province, Finance Minister Kevin Doherty’s budget will come down shortly after 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Premier Brad Wall says government has taken a number of cost-cutting measures over the last couple of years to stem the tide in the drop in revenues.
It includes a reduction in MLA salaries and an across-the-board target of a 3.5-percent reduction in compensation for the public sector to deal with the 1.2-billion dollar deficit.
“We also need to conduct ourselves in a way that doesn’t shock the economy,” says Premier Wall. “And that it doesn’t gut public service, to the extent they are unsustainable, or basic services cannot be delivered.”
Premier Wall says in the April 2016 election, the government campaigned on getting back to a surplus situation within a certain time frame, but admits balancing the books this budget may not happen.
SHIFT AWAY FROM RESOURCE REVENUE
The Premier says a plan is being formed to balance the budget over the next three years. Wall says a shift away from resource revenues will begin to occur.
“There will also be a shift more towards consumption taxes,” says Premier Wall. “And away from taxes on income or investment – or taxes on jobs. Many number of economists say if you can lower tax, it should be the taxes on income, or the taxes on investments in particular.”
FARMERS WORRIED ABOUT TAX EXEMPTIONS
Agriculture minister Lyle Stewart warns of some pain in the provincial budget as well. Stewart says the ministry of Finance has done its best to distribute the pain evenly over industries and individuals.
“I think farmers and ranchers should look for some changes they wouldn’t necessarily ask for,” says Stewart. “I think everyone else will be asked to make some contributions and sacrifices too.”
Farmers are worried about the future of tax exemptions on farm fuel and other inputs like fertilizer and machinery.
- Sask. Premier Brad Wall says changes to tax system part of three-year budget balancing plan
- NDP is seeking balanced budget legislation in Saskatchewan
- Re-soled shoes for Sask. Finance Minister ahead of provincial budget
SOCIAL MEDIA POST TRIED TO SOFTEN THE BLOW
In the meantime, in a Facebook Live message Monday morning, Premier Brad Wall announced they will be making two major shifts to the province’s tax system in Wednesday’s Budget.
Wall said with the economic downturn, the province will be moving away from resource revenues.
“There will be a shift away from a reliance on resource revenues and toward other types of taxes to help make up the shortfall, and to better-position us for the long-term. But there will be another shift as well, a shift toward consumption taxes but away from taxes on income and productivity,” Wall said during his message.
Wall said this change will keep the economy strong, while generating the revenue needed to ensure important public services are sustainable and remain reliable for the foreseeable future.
‘This fundamental change in our tax system is designed to keep our economy strong, while generating the revenue needed to ensure public services are sustainable and affordable in the long-run,” Wall said.
FEDERAL BUDGET TO BE RELEASED THE SAME DAY
The Trudeau government will unveil its second federal budget Wednesday and it’s expected to be heavy on policy and light on spending.
Having already made billions of dollars worth of commitments in last year’s budget, the document Finance Minister Bill Morneau will deliver is poised to focus more on the social policies central to the government’s agenda — from skills and job training to child care and affordable housing.
The Liberals plan to try to help those who fear being left behind by coming changes in technology and in the way economic engines function around the world.