Report from the Legislature – March 21, 2019

The 2019 Provincial Budget is a balanced budget – and it’s the right balance for Saskatchewan.

It’s the right balance between keeping your taxes low and providing quality services for our children, families, and seniors.

It’s the right balance between important investments in both urban and rural Saskatchewan.

And it’s the right balance for building a stronger economy and creating jobs, now and in the future.

This year’s budget delivers record investments in mental health services, highway safety, our children’s classrooms and supports for persons with disabilities.

And there are no new taxes or tax increases.

This budget fulfills our government’s three-year fiscal plan in which some difficult decisions had to be made. Those choices reduced Saskatchewan’s reliance on volatile resource revenues and set Saskatchewan on a path to where we are today.

With a projected surplus of $34.4 million, this budget increases support in almost every area – in health, social services and assistance, protection of people and property, education, agriculture, community development, environment and natural resources, and transportation.

This budget provides a $700,000 increase for the Autism Individualized Funding benefit, increasing the benefit from $4,000 to $6,000 per year for children under age six.

Specific health care capital investments in this budget include funding the preconstruction design of a new Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert and planning for a new hospital in Weyburn.

Budget 2019-20 invests in the replacement of Northland Pioneers Lodge in Meadow Lake, fulfilling the government’s commitment to replace 13 long-term care facilities for seniors across the province. Additional home care support will also help people stay safely in their homes as long as possible through the Connected Care program.

The 2019-20 Budget also provides $1.1 million—an increase of more than $660,000—to the Alzheimer Society for the First Link program.

An increase of more than $27 million will support at-risk children and families while community-based organizations and those who deliver services to children and families and provide support for people with intellectual disabilities will receive an additional $5.9 million in 2019-20.

The budget also provides a $6.6 million increase in support for adults with intellectual disabilities, and $1.4 million has been designated to increase monthly payments for foster families who complete training.

This budget increases school division funding while Education Property Tax rates remain unchanged.

To improve safety at highway intersections, our government has introduced an Enhanced Intersection Safety Program that will improve signage, sight lines and lighting and add safety features like rumble strips at intersections throughout the province.

The budget also includes more than $60 million for twinning and passing lane projects. Overall, the budget provides funding to improve about 1,000 kilometres of the highway network in 2019-20.

This year we will continue funding 128 municipal police positions and targeted policing initiatives across the province with an additional $1.1 million designated for drug-impaired driving detection training for police.

While the formula has changed, communities across the province will continue to receive unconditional funding from the province through Municipal Revenue Sharing. The total allocated this year is up $10.5 million to $251 million.

This budget also achieves the right balance by investing a total of $2.7 billion into hospitals, schools, highways, and municipal and Crown infrastructure to help meet the needs of a growing population and economy, while ensuring that debt is managed responsibly.

Saskatchewan grew by over 11,000 people in 2018. A growing province means a growing demand for government services Saskatchewan people expect and deserve. Our government is committed to a responsible, sustainable plan to deliver and improve those services.

At a time when some jurisdictions have chosen a path of ongoing deficits, this budget sets Saskatchewan on a path to ensure balanced budgets in the years ahead. The 2019-20 Budget is part of our government’s plan to continue to balance into the future, and sustain needed investments in high-quality government services for all Saskatchewan people.

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