Difficult Budget Will Keep Saskatchewan's Economy and Finances Strong
Premier Brad Wall said the highlight of the spring sitting of the Legislature which wraps up today was a difficult but necessary budget that will move Saskatchewan away from its reliance on resource revenues and ensure the province’s economy and finances stay strong.
“Some tough choices had to be made in this year’s budget, but in the long run, making those choices now is better than kicking the deficit can down the road for someone else to deal with, like some other provinces are doing,” Wall said. “We made the choice to meet the fiscal challenge now. That meant making some difficult decisions in this year’s budget, but I am very comfortable that we have chosen the right course for the long-term fiscal and economic strength of our province.”
Wall noted that cost-cutting efforts started at the top, as all ministers, MLAs and political staff took a 3.5 per cent salary reduction prior to the budget.
Wall said recent economic indicators show Saskatchewan’s economy is showing signs of resilience. Employment is up through the first four months of the year, exports are up significantly and Saskatchewan has led the country in areas like wholesale trade, retail sales and building permit growth.
“Saskatchewan’s diverse economy is strong and resilient,” Wall said. “The decisions we are making today will ensure it stays strong into the future.”
The government passed several pieces of legislation in the spring sitting, including:
- Legislation to reduce health care administration and better co-ordinate health services by amalgamating the province’s health regions into one provincial health authority;
- Legislation to protect victims of domestic violence by allowing them to end rental leases early if necessary to remove themselves from an unsafe situation;
- Legislation to clearly define what does and doesn’t constitute “privatization”;
- Legislation to encourage investment in innovation through the creation of the first “patent box” incentive in North America;
- Legislation to improve pipeline safety; and
- Legislation to improve safety for tow truck operators by allowing flashing blue lights to be used on tow trucks.
During the spring session, Wall also announced that the province will use the notwithstanding clause to protect school choice, following a court decision that would force non-Catholic students out of Catholic schools and threaten funding to other faith-based schools.