5 things you should know from the 2023-24 provincial budget
Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer presented the 2023-24 provincial budget on Wednesday. Here are five things you need to know.
NO TAX INCREASES OR DECREASES
Before the official documents were released, Finance Minister Donna Harpauer provided some insight into this year’s provincial budget on Tuesday and said there would be no provincial tax increases or new taxes. There was also a projected surplus of $1 billion.
Despite that surplus, no tax decreases such as a change to the PST or provincial gas tax was announced.
Last year the province announced a two cent increase to the tobacco tax and added PST to event tickets like Roughriders games and concerts.
AFFORDABILITY, NO 'MOE BUCKS'
In light of the province having a projected surplus of $1 billion, there was not much announced in the way of immediately addressing affordability concerns. In 2022, Saskatchewan residents were sent one-time payments of $500 to address record inflation and affordability issues.
The province did not announce a resurrection of the one-time affordability payments but said Saskatchewan remains one of the most affordable places to live in Canada.
$518M FOR MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS
The province said $518 million is going to be spent on mental health and addiction programs and services.
A total of $438.4 million will be dedicated to mental health, with the remaining $79.2 million set to be spent on improving addiction services.
The funding is part of what the province said is a “record” health budget that includes total funding of more than $6.8 billion.
MORE MONEY FOR TELEVISION AND MOVIE PROJECTS
The province said an additional $2 million will be provided to the Creative Saskatchewan Production Grant Program.
Total funds available now sit at $12 million, according to the province.
In 2022 an $8 million increase was announced.
The province said the goal is to attract larger projects to Saskatchewan.
TWINNING PROJECTS ON HIGHWAYS 6 AND 39
The province said that $422 million will be invested in capital projects this year, one of which includes twinning projects on Highways 6 and 39 south of Regina, part of the route many consider to be Saskatchewan's main connection to the U.S.
In a news release, the province said portions of Highways 6 and 39 near Rowatt, Sask. and Corinne, Sask. will begin to be twinned this year. The finished project will result in a longer twinned route from Regina to Weyburn.
Overall, the province said this year’s budget will improve more than 1,000 kilometres of highways in Saskatchewan.
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