Report from the Legislature – June 2. 2016


This week Finance Minister Kevin Doherty tabled Saskatchewan’s 2016-17 Budget.

This budget is part of our government’s responsible and affordable plan to keep Saskatchewan strong.

Despite a challenging year for the province’s finances, there are no tax increases and no new taxes to ensure we continue to attract people and investment to Saskatchewan.

We will instead focus on controlling spending to keep the province’s finances strong with a plan to return to balance next year. This is very unique in Canada right now as other jurisdictions pursue long-term deficits with often no plan to get back to balance.

We are also making key investments in infrastructure and people, and we are doing what we said we would do. This includes fixing more roads as part of our Highways 2020 Plan and helping post-secondary graduates with the down payment on their first home through the Graduate Retention Program First Home Plan.

To ensure the sustainability of high-quality public services delivered in the most efficient, effective way possible, this budget also marks the beginning of a government-wide process of transformational change. Questions to be asked as part of this review process include:

• Is this program or service the role of government? If so, is it being delivered in the best possible manner, at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers?
• Where similar programs with similar objectives exist, can those multiple programs be combined into one that provides better results at less cost?
• Could a different governance model provide administrative savings while still remaining responsive to the needs of Saskatchewan people?

At the same time, government will also take a close look at its revenue sources to ensure they are sustainable and to guard against too much dependence on volatile revenue sources such as oil and potash. The overall objectives of our province’s revenue system must always be to keep Saskatchewan strong by keeping our economy strong and to ensure government revenues are sufficient to ensure important programs and services are sustainable now and in the future. That means a tax system that is competitive, simple and fair for all Saskatchewan taxpayers.

By keeping taxes low, controlling spending and investing in much needed infrastructure projects like highways, schools and hospitals, we will help Saskatchewan’s economy through a difficult year. While there is more work ahead, this budget is an important step forward to maintain the Saskatchewan advantage and keep our province strong.