Our Government has a plan to return Saskatchewan to a balanced budget by next year, and that plan is on track.
The Government of Saskatchewan continues to control and carefully manage spending in the 2018-19 Provincial Budget. Many ministries are forecasting lower spending than in the previous fiscal year, while continuing to provide valued core services that are sustainable into the future.
Expenses are forecast to be down 1.4 per cent from last year’s budget. Government has also realized $5 million in savings by reducing the number of government-owned vehicles and $19 million in savings from amalgamation into one health region, while improving front-line care.
While working to control spending, we continue to invest in the priorities of Saskatchewan people – health care, education and social services in particular. Investment in these three areas is $10.4 billion, an increase of $4 billion, or more than 64%, since 2007-08.
This year’s budget provides $700,000 for universal 100% coverage for HIV drugs and other supports; over $520,000 for a new program to screen babies born in Saskatchewan hospitals for hearing loss; and $2.8 million to individualized funding for children under six with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Our government’s commitment to increase education operating funding for the 2018-19 school year was also delivered in this budget, as was nearly $77 million in child care funding.
More than $10 million in funding will support those who provide direct daily care to adults with intellectual disabilities, children in need of protection, plus supports for families. This includes foster families and CBOs that deliver day programs and residential services to people with intellectual disabilities and provide family-focused services.
With continued funding in this year’s budget, two new major hospitals – Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford and Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital – are on track to be open by the end of next year.
In this budget, there are no increases to tax rates. Low personal and corporate income tax rates remain the same with no increases to Education Property Tax or Provincial Sales Tax rates.
We understand how competitive taxes help to attract people, businesses and investment to Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan is projected to have the fourth highest growth in the country in 2018 and third highest in 2019, according to private sector forecasts. Competitive taxes and targeted incentives support continued diversification and growth in Saskatchewan’s economy.
The 2018-19 Saskatchewan Budget includes $413 million of direct support to municipalities and $123 million for municipal infrastructure; increases funding to STEP – the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Program to expand the province’s export markets; and provides $2.7 million for infrastructure, including Crown corporations, to support the growing province.
This year’s budget also includes new growth tax incentives – the Saskatchewan Value-added Agriculture Incentive and the Saskatchewan Technology Start-up Incentive – to encourage investment, diversify the economy and create jobs.
Faced with significant challenges, including resource revenue decline of more than $1 billion due in large part to low oil and potash prices, our Government initiated a three-year plan to control and carefully manage spending and achieve a balanced budget in 2019-20.
One of the main goals of our three-year budget plan is to reduce Saskatchewan’s reliance on resource revenue, and that plan is on track. Non-renewable resource revenue now accounts for just 10% of the province’s total revenue, down from a high of 32% in 2008-09.
This year’s budgeted deficit is $365 million in 2018-19. A return to balance is forecast for 2019-20 with a modest surplus of $6 million. Higher surpluses of $108 million and $212 million respectively are projected for 2020-21 and 2021-22.
Balance ensures long-term sustainability and continued investments in infrastructure. Improved revenue stability, diversified economy, less dependence on resource revenue. This supports our Government’s vision to ensure that Saskatchewan is the best place in Canada – to live, work, start a business, to get an education and raise a family, and to build a life.
Our government’s plan to keep Saskatchewan on track includes controlling spending, delivering high quality services for Saskatchewan people, no tax rate increases, and measures to keep our economy strong to return our province to balance in 2019-20.