(30 March 2011)
The Saskatchewan Advantage
There are two competing visions in Saskatchewan right now. One of them was outlined on March 23rd when our government announced the 2011-12 “Saskatchewan Advantage” budget: lower taxes for families, reduced debt and improved government services. The other one was revealed at the NDP’s recent convention. The NDP approved their “Saskatchewan Disadvantage” policy review which would raise taxes, kill jobs and drag Saskatchewan back into have-not status.
Their policy document includes over 300 promises and not one of them has a price tag attached to it – not one. In fact, the only numbers in their entire plan are at the bottom of the pages. Based on our rough estimate, their plan would cost at least $1.5 billion a year. So how would they pay for it? Their “Saskatchewan Disadvantage” plan calls for tax hikes – including Dwain Lingenfelter’s job-killing resource tax. Lingenfelter hiked your taxes 17 times when he was in government and he appears to be quite willing to do it 300 more times to fund his half-baked vision for the future of our province. The front of their policy document has a tree – it must be the NDP money tree.
Our government’s plan, on the other hand, will keep Saskatchewan moving forward through lower taxes, less debt and improved services. That’s the Saskatchewan Advantage.
Helping Those in Need
The Saskatchewan Advantage is not just about growth for growth’s sake. It is about using that growth to benefit individuals and families. Our government recently committed $252 million over five years to build more than 4,600 new housing units that will increase the supply of entry-level and rental housing. This funding is part of a five-point action plan which will help the dream of homeownership become a reality for people and families with lower incomes. This plan provides loans for developers, tax incentives for homeowners and rental unit developers, a $34 million investment in rental housing and a $1.5 million partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
Improving Rural Services
For 16 years, rural Saskatchewan was ignored by the previous NDP government. The NDP closed 31 rural agriculture offices and replaced them with a toll-free number and a website.
Our government is taking a different approach with a focus on face-to-face meetings and on-farm visits. We recently announced a further expansion of agriculture extension services as part of the $418 million 2011-12 Agriculture budget – the second largest in the province’s history. This new funding will allow our government to open seven new satellite offices in Meadow Lake, Lloydminster, Assiniboia, Moosomin, Estevan, Shaunavon and Wadena. We are committed to meeting the needs of farmers and ranchers and these new offices are another step in that direction.
Our government will continue to take action that benefits families and farmers.
That’s the Saskatchewan Advantage.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Donna.
Past Legislative Reports