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First budget of new Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe will be delivered today – CP

by ahnationtalk on April 10, 201819 Views

Source: The Canadian Press
Apr 10, 2018 

REGINA _ Questions about what kind of budget Saskatchewan’s new premier plans to deliver will be answered today.

Scott Moe has promised to balance the provincial budget by 2020, even after reinstating an exemption of the provincial sales tax on crop, life and health insurance earlier this year.

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer will deliver the budget later today in the legislature.

Former Premier Brad Wall delivered an austerity budget last year with spending cuts and tax hikes, although some of the most unpopular cuts were later rolled back due to public protest.

Political science professor Tom McIntosh says the economy hasn’t been horrible, but it hasn’t been spectacular either, and he wonders how much progress was made on reducing the deficit considering many of last year’s cuts were abandoned.

NDP Finance critic Cathy Sproule says the NDP is hoping to see less harm for people who were hurt by last year’s budget.

“We need to see investments in education, we need to see investments in labour markets, we need to see investments in jobs,” Sproule said.

“I don’t know how Scott Moe intends on getting back to balance in three years as he’s promised, and I think it’s going to be a really tough road.”

Moe said in February that school boards will be able to start hiring more teachers thanks to a $7.5 million boost in education funding, and that additional funding would be forthcoming in the budget.

The Saskatchewan government’s third-quarter report, delivered last month, projected the 2017-2018 deficit will be $595 million _ down $101 million from the red ink outlined in the last budget.

Harpauer said at the time that her goal would still be to balance the budget by the 2019-2020 fiscal year, but that diligence will be needed.

McIntosh noted there didn’t seem to be much of a plan for last year’s budget, and that it lacked strategic thought for what was cut.

“They’ve said that they’ve done a lot of consultation this year, which I don’t think they did much of last year,” McIntosh said.

“I think everybody is just sitting and waiting to see which shoes drop this time.”

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