The Premier has kept to his campaign promise of bringing back $30-million of the $54-million cut from last year’s education budget.
The 2018-19 budget tabled in the Legislature includes increased funding for Kindergarten to Grade 12 education, health care and social services.
There is no increase for post-secondary funding.
Finance Minister Donna Harpauer says the 3 year goal remains to balance the budget by 2019-20.
This is now year 2 of the efforts that began last year by controlling government spending and making investments in core services and in infrastructure and new business incentives.
Getting down to the brass tax of the provincial budget, the projected revenue for this fiscal year is $14.25-billion.
The spending forecast is $14.61-billion and the deficit is forecast at $365-million, which is down from the projected deficit at the end of the third quarter, which was $595-million.
Personal income tax remains the same, but there are a few changes to the PST.
You will be charged PST for used light vehicles as of tomorrow, but there will be no PST for vehicles under $5-thousand or for vehicles gifted between qualifying family members.
PST will now be also be charged for Energy Star appliances.
The third-quarter report had projected a deficit of $595-million at the end of the year and that is now reported in this budget as $365-million.
Harpauer expects a modest surplus of $6-million for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
She notes the goal is to not be as reliant on non-renewable resource revenue and that is happening.
It counts for 10 per cent of the province’s revenue now, as compared to a high of 35 per cent in 2008.
The budget for social services will increase by $25-million with funding increases for foster families, community-based organization that offer day programs and residential services for people with intellectual disabilities and other family-focused services.
The Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement will be cancelled after June 30th.
No new applications will be taken as of July 1st for the monthly payment that helps families and individuals with disabilities access affordable housing.
Instead the province will develop a rental support program with the federal government as part of the national housing strategy.