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Legislative Report (1 February 2006)

Legislative Report

1 February 2006
NDP Government Policies Barrier to Economic Diversification - Abysmal Job Creation Record in Saskatchewan
An important economic report received scant attention in the media this week. Buried in the back of the financial pages was a study by the Canada West Foundation. And it echoes what the Saskatchewan Party has been saying for years.

The report was written by economist Todd Hirsch. He says resource revenues are currently driving the Saskatchewan economy. For sustained growth, however, our province will need to diversify. And were not where we should be on that count.

The main barriers to diversification appear to be high corporate taxes and other regulatory barriers. Hirsch says the onus is on government to go the extra mile when it comes to making changes to our business tax regime. If that doesnt happen quickly, the opportunity we have to change our economy could be lost.

Jack Vicq said the same things when he released the report of the Business Tax Review Committee in November. Vicq said the NDPs Corporate Capital Tax and high corporate income taxes mean that Saskatchewan isnt even on the radar when businesses look at making important investment decisions. Vicq urged the province move from a 1980s tax regime to a 2010 tax regime.

So now we have two studies basically agreeing with the policies of the Saskatchewan Party. Based on the consensus that is emerging, maybe its time to stop the studying and actually start taking action.

And this isnt just a dull story about numbers and tax rules. Were talking about the need to keep our young people in Saskatchewan with attractive, high paying jobs. This is about never having to lead the nation in population losses again. This is about stopping the month-over-month job losses weve been seeing recently.

We need more jobs to create a vibrant Saskatchewan economy. We need people earning high wages to pay taxes and help fund education and health care. The best way to do this is by getting our economic fundamentals right and attracting private investment.

Unfortunately, thats something the NDP will never understand. They are quite fond of their studies.

On that note, it will be interesting to see if the Calvert NDP caucus can actually find the intestinal fortitude to adopt the corporate tax measures suggested by the Vicq Commission measures they have been vehemently opposed to and vocally critical of in the past.

Rumour has it the recommendations of this report are causing old divisions between the left and further left factions of the NDP caucus to flare up once again which in itself is not surprising. After all, it was Lorne Calvert himself who took a swipe at the very businesses that create jobs in Saskatchewan and that would invest in the province should the Vicq recommendations be adopted. In a fundraising letter Lorne Calvert sent out around the time of the last provincial election, the Premier wrote:

Big corporations see a successful provincial economy and want to take over the most profitable parts of it. To acquire the profitable parts, they must first get hold of the levers of power. So they finance a political party, in this case, the Saskatchewan Party.

It is doubtful that the Calvert NDP can put ideology aside and do what is necessary to ensure Saskatchewans young people can make their careers and lives in Saskatchewan.

If you have any questions about this report or any other issue, just Contact Glen.

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