The Government of Saskatchewan handed down their annual budget Tuesday afternoon.

"I think this is a really good budget," shares Estevan's MLA, Lori Carr, "considering we're trying to get away from the reliance on resource revenues and start to move forward without that."

"One of the main goals was that our three-year budget plan was to reduce that reliance and we are completely on track for that."

The budget comes with a $365 million deficit.

"That was part of our three-year plan was to have that deficit this year and then next year, take it back to balance with a very slight surplus of about $6 million. Yes, we do have a deficit this year, but to get back to balance right away, we would have had to make a number of more severe cuts which I just don't think the people of the province were prepared for."

The government will spend $3.5 billion for healthcare in the province.

"Which is actually a $71.9 million increase over the total funding that all of the previous regional health authorities received. It's a nice bump in funding but it's based on utilization and use so the need was there."

The government says that they have already saved $19 million through the amalgamation of the health regions. 

One hot-button topic that Premier Scott Moe campaigned on throughout the election campaign for leader of the Sask Party was on funding for education. 

"He kept that promise that he had made to restore the $30 million back into education. And that targetted funding is for frontline staff so teachers and supports to help the students right in the classroom."

"For Southeast Cornerstone specifically, the preventative maintenance fund was actually increased from last year's budget by 15%. So they'll be able to do a little bit more of that work that they were able to in the past couple of years. And that's also been increased for the Holy Family School Division so both of those division will get more money for their preventative maintenance renewal. So that's pretty exciting."

The provincial government will keep PST steady at 6% but it will see some changes.

"The formula will change on how PST is dealt with new and used vehicles. Right now if you buy a brand new vehicle, you pay PST on 100% on that vehicle, even if you had a trade-in. We're changing it so when you do buy a brand new vehicle and you have a trade-in, if that trade-in is worth $20,000, let's say the new vehicle is worth $60,000, you're only going to pay PST on the differnence, on the $40,000 istead of the full $60,000 that you did last year."

"And along with that, is PST on used vehicles. Any used vehicle over $5,000, you're going to have to pay PST on that vehicle."

However, family members who gift a vehicle will not be charged PST. As well, PST will not be charged on private sales of used vehicles under $5,000.

"That puts us on par with every other province in Canada. This is the way that everyone else does business."

PST will also now be applied to energy-efficient appliances as well as cannabis once it becomes legal. 

 

Carr adds that there is funding in the budget for twinning and passing lanes along Highways 39 and 6.

"While I think twinning would be absolutely fantastic, by putting in some passing lanes in the meantime to make it a little safer, that's going to actually start happening. On Highway 6 between Regina and the junction of Highway 39, there's going to be a series of some twinning and two sets of passing lanes are going to be put in there."

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