April 10, 2020
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Legislative Report (11 April 2005)

NDP Budget Disappointing
11 April 2005

On March 23, the Calvert NDP government announced the 2005 Provincial Budget. The budget proved to be a complete non-starter, lacking any vision for Saskatchewans economic future and all but ignoring the financial crisis in our farming industry. Without hesitation our Opposition Caucus made the decision not to support the NDP budget.

The budget, put forth by Finance Minister Harry Van Mulligan, failed the people of Saskatchewan in a number of critical areas. On the issue of taxation, the PST and the business tax were not reduced and subsequently Saskatchewan is still not economically competitive with other provinces. Conversely, tax hikes are expected at the municipal level on both the education and property side as the NDP provided no new money to municipal government while at the same time freezing K-12 education funding.

At a time when record high oil prices should lead to new development in our provinces oil and gas sector, Premier Calvert, who has admitted that our energy sector is a sleeping giant, has now cut down the bean stock by introducing the Corporation Capital Tax surcharge on energy trusts in oil and gas. At the very least it seems ironic that the very industry, by the governments own admission, that has resulted in better revenues for the province is being punished with higher taxes that also frustrate new business development. As we celebrate Saskatchewans 100th birthday we should also be moving forward, not backwards, on our provinces great potential.

At nearly $60 per barrel coupled with increased transfer payments from Ottawa, you would think that there would be some provincial action taken to help our rural farming communities struggling with the devastating effects of BSE, frozen grain, low bushel prices and record high input costs. Yet, the province decided to cap their portion of this years CAIS farm program at $98 million as well as declining to participate in Ottawas recently announced new spring farm support program. This is the same government that has deemed it wise to invest up to $72 million in the failed Navigata enterprise, an amount nearing almost two Spudco spending scandals.

Our farmers simply deserve more support from their provincial government than they have received in recent years. If the NDP dont like the federal farm programs, then they should decide on an amount of support they can afford and pay it directly to our ranchers and grain producers. The NDP should also be making a better effort towards funding our social assistance programs to allow those in desperate need the resources to cover the rising cost of living in todays economy. There should also be targeted tax cuts introduced for those people who are amidst unfortunate circumstances. Its high time this NDP government got its priorities right. Thank-you for your continuing support.

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