What's in it for me? Here's how the Sask. 2021-22 budget could impact you
REGINA -- Whether you’re a parent, senior or university student, the 2021-22 provincial budget will impact people across the province in different ways. Here are some of the budget pledges that might impact you this fiscal year:
HOME RENOVATION TAX CREDIT
The Saskatchewan Home Renovation Tax Credit provides a 10.5 per cent tax credit on up to $20,000 of eligible home renovations done between October 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022, beginning with the 2021 tax year. This could save home owners up to $2,100, according to the Sask. Party.
Expenses eligible for the proposed tax credit include permanent additions to a home, but not furniture, appliances or maintenance such as a new furnace or carpet cleaning.
ADDITIONAL CHILD CARE SPACES
The budget brings child care funding to $75.5 million. The $2 million increase will create 176 new licensed home-based spaces and 51 new licensed centre spaces.
This year’s provincial budget includes $174.8 million for continuing the Saskatchewan Economic Recovery Rebate, which began providing all SaskPower customers with a 10 per cent rebate on their power bills last December.
In May, the previously announced $285 million Auto Fund recovery rebate – also known as the SGI rebate – will provide an average of $285 to all vehicle owners in the province.
The money will be paid out from the Rate Stabilization Reserve (RSR). According to the province, the RSR experienced strong investment earnings over the past fiscal year, allowing SGI to "absorb the one-time cost associated with issuing rebates, while remaining in a position to protect customers from significant rate hikes going forward."
SMALL BUSINESS TAX RATE
The province says it will ease the small business tax rate back to its original 2 per cent over the next two years.
The tax rate was reduced from 2 to 0 per cent in October of last year. The rate will increase to 1 percent on July 1, 2022 and return to 2 per cent on July 1, 2023.
The government says the reduction will protect Saskatchewan small businesses through the pandemic.
SASKATCHEWAN INSULIN PUMP PROGRAM
The government is investing $5 million to increase supports for people with diabetes.
The province will expand the Insulin Pump Program to support all people with Type 1 Diabetes, no matter their age. Continuous and flash glucose monitoring systems for people under 18 who are insulin dependent will now be covered.
EXPANDED ELIGIBILITY FOR CHILDHOOD AUTISM FUNDING
The government has committed $6 million to expand the Autism Spectrum Disorder program. With this expansion, children between the ages of six and 11 with Autism Spectrum Disorder will be eligible to receive funding of $6,000 annually.
This is in addition to children under age six who currently receive $8,000 each year.
ACTIVE FAMILIES BENEFIT
The province has restarted the Active Families Benefit. The benefit offers $150 per year, per child to families with less than $60,000 in annual income. Children with disabilities are entitled to $200.
RAISING THE SASK. ADVANTAGE SCHOLARSHIP
The provincial budget includes an additional $4 million towards the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship. This will increase the scholarship for eligible students from $500 to $750 annually.
INCREASING PAYMENTS TO LOW INCOME SENIORS
The government will increase benefits to seniors with an additional $3.5 million funding for the Seniors Income Plan (SIP). The investment will help low income seniors “enjoy a better quality of life,” according to the government, with maximum payments increasing by $30 a month.
REDUCING SENIORS’ AMBULANCE FEES
This budget will reduce ambulance fees for seniors from $275 to $135 per trip.
COMMUNITY RINK GRANTS
The province will reinstate the Community Rink Affordability Grant. This grant will provide $2,500 per ice surface. The government says the $1.7 million program helps cover eligible operating costs, COVID-related costs and minor capital improvements for more than 600 ice surfaces in more than 350 Saskatchewan communities.
With files from CTVSaskatoon.ca’s Josh Lynn and CTVRegina.ca’s Brendan Ellis