(23 March 2011)
The Saskatchewan Advantage
Budget 2011 -2012
On March 23, our government tabled a budget that is good for families, good for business and good for the future of our province.
“The Saskatchewan Advantage” 2011-2012 budget is balanced, lowers taxes for families, homeowners, farmers and businesses, reduces the provincial debt and improves government services.
Because of this budget, Saskatchewan families with dependent children will earn more tax-free income than anywhere else in Canada.
Basic and spousal exemption amounts increase by $1,000 and the exemption amount for dependent children increases by $500 for each dependent child. These changes will save a family of four earning $50,000 this year almost $2500 in income taxes. It also means 114,000 people will no longer pay provincial income tax.
We are cutting the small business tax rate by more than half, from 4.5 per cent to 2 per cent, and education property taxes on farmland, residential and commercial property are being reduced by a further $55.6 million. Since 2007, our government has reduced the amount you pay in education property tax by $103 million, the largest-ever property tax cut in Saskatchewan history.
Lower taxes make life more affordable, put more money back in the economy and create jobs.
“The Saskatchewan Advantage” budget is also fiscally prudent. It is our government’s fourth consecutive balanced budget and reduces the provincial debt by $325 million, to $3.81 billion. The last time Saskatchewan’s debt was this low was in 1988. Debt reduction means lower interest costs and more money to pay for infrastructure and important government services such as health care and education.
Our government’s commitment to putting patients first is also reflected in “The Saskatchewan Advantage” budget. We are increasing the total health budget by $260 million, to a total of $4.46 billion, which includes more funding for physician recruitment and training, an increase of $250 million for health regions and $5 million toward establishing a helicopter air medical service in Saskatchewan. Since 2007, our government has taken action which has resulted in lower surgical wait times, more than 800 new nurses and an increased number of training seats for physicians. Construction on the province’s first-ever Children’s Hospital is now underway. We are funding the replacement of 13 long-term care centres in rural Saskatchewan.
A growing economy puts more demand on roads and highways. In order to meet this demand, the 2011-2012 budget contains a further investment of $556.2 million into highways. That brings total transportation spending since 2007 to $2.2 billion, keeping and exceeding our promise to invest $1.8 billion during our first term. In just four years, we have improved 6,170 kilometres of provincial highways, including 1,485 of repaving and 770 kilometres of rural highway upgrades.
The 2011-2012 budget recognizes the important contribution farmers and ranchers make to the Saskatchewan economy. “The Saskatchewan Advantage” budget” contains record Crop Insurance coverage to protect against disasters such as last year’s record rainfall and unprecedented flooding. More than three quarters of this year’s Agriculture budget will go to fully fund the province’s 40 per cent share of business risk management programs that support farm families, including Crop Insurance, AgriStability and AgriInvest. For far too long, farm families have been forced to shoulder an unfair burden of education funding through property tax on agricultural land – they will directly benefit from the further reductions to education property tax contained in this year’s budget. Producers need to know they can head into the upcoming growing season knowing our government will stand behind them. This budget sends that message.
With Saskatchewan’s economy expected to lead the nation this year, our government’s goal is to build on that momentum and ensure all Saskatchewan people share in the benefits.
A better quality of life.
Balanced budget and reduced debt.
That’s the Saskatchewan Advantage.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Donna.
Past Legislative Reports