SASKATOON—Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is promising to deliver a balanced budget next week.
Wall spoke to delegates to the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities convention in Saskatoon on Wednesday.
He promised that the budget, which will be released March 18, will not be balanced through cuts to infrastructure spending.
Wall did not say if there will be changes to the municipal revenue sharing formula to offset a large decrease in oil revenue.
Wall says the “short-term challenge” of falling oil prices cannot cause the government to make “short-term decisions.”
He also talked about measures to attract new business investment.
“You’re going to see in the budget very, very specific tools where we think we can attract more jobs in manufacturing and agricultural processing and also attracting companies to expand their corporate office presence in the province.
“And I think soon after that budget you might see some companies immediately taking advantage of that and expanding here in the province.”
Wall also mentioned that the government is looking at a possible increase in education property taxes.
He said currently, education property taxes pay for about one-third of education spending, while the government takes care of the other two-thirds.
He said the government is considering raising the tax share to 40 per cent.
The NDP criticized the move, saying the province didn’t save any money from resources over the past ten years and is now scrambling for more.
“Wall threatened to cut the share municipalities get, which hurts property taxpayers, and now he’s threatened another hit to families with an education property tax increase,” said Trent Wotherspoon. “It’s unacceptable.”