Report from the Legislature - November 24, 2016

Nov 24, 2016

Falling Tax Revenue Requires Fiscal Restraint

During the NDP’s last 16 years in government, Saskatchewan was a have-not province with a declining population receiving equalization payments. Since our government was elected, Saskatchewan is a have province with a growing population that’s no longer dependent on equalization.

Over the past 9 years, Saskatchewan has grown and provided services to nearly 150,000 new residents. That’s equivalent to adding another Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Swift Current, North Battleford, Lloydminster (SK side), Martensville, Humboldt, Melfort, and Meadow Lake.

At a time when our economy is showing signs of strength, lower than expected potash, uranium and continued low oil prices have hit government finances hard. This year’s revenue shortfall is now $806 million and we’re taking significant restraint measures to start getting the budget back to balance.

Since coming to office, our government has paid off 1/3 of the province’s operating debt. As a result, interest costs are down from over $1 billion annually in 1994-95 to $292 million today. And we have worked to build a strong financial footing for Saskatchewan, which includes:

•Aaa credit rating;

•2nd lowest debt to GDP ratio among the provinces

•$6 billion in tax relief for families

•$9 billion in infrastructure investment

•2nd best job creation record in Canada.

We have the fiscal capacity to manage through challenging times. We will protect Saskatchewan's fiscal position and thanks to a low debt burden and a diversified economy, we will come through this challenging time stronger than ever.

Wait Times for Surgery in Saskatchewan Among Shortest in Canada

In Saskatchewan we’re seeing how innovation – not ideology – brings better choices, better outcomes and lower costs. For example, publicly-funded private surgeries have helped to take pressure off of the public system and have played a key role in reducing surgical wait times.

Under the NDP, Saskatchewan had the longest wait times for health care in Canada. Today, according to the Fraser Institute’s 2016 report, Saskatchewan has the second shortest wait times for Doctor to specialist and the shortest wait times from seeing a specialist to getting treatment.

Better health care services for everyone in Saskatchewan is an important part of our plan to keep Saskatchewan strong.