Reactions to the 2018 Saskatchewan budget are already pouring in.
The Saskatchewan NDP said this year’s budget is simply more of the same, and leaves families hurting.
“What this budget shows is that Saskatchewan is being kept in a railway siding, meanwhile the debt is on track to triple since 2008 and there is no investment in prosperity,” NDP Finance Critic Cathy Sproule said in a statement. “Where is the hope? Where is the leadership?”
Sproule said she liked the SaskParty’s commitments toward funding HIV medication and autism supports, but said the cutting the housing rental supplement and lack of investment into early education and childcare will “hurt the province’s most vulnerable.”
Sproule also criticized the drop in infrastructure funding, which she said will translate into increased municipal taxes.
“With Saskatchewan seeing a slow rate of job growth, and people struggling to make ends meet, we expected to see more in this budget that will help foster long-term growth and prosperity,” she said. “All we are seeing is higher taxes on used cars and cannabis on top of the huge increase in fees and ballooning spending on Boundary Dam 3 and the Regina Bypass.”
Teachers’ Federation says more investment needed
Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Patrick Maze acknowledged Premier Scott Moe fulfilled his promise to reinstate $30 million in educational funding, but said more money must be channeled into the province’s classrooms.
“Inflation was running at 1.7 per cent last year and is currently tracking at 2.7 per cent in Saskatchewan,” Maze said in a release. “So a 1.6 per cent increase in education spending this year won’t keep up with inflationary pressures.”
Maze said with more students and fewer teachers than ever, the budget “falls short of addressing reality.”
SEIU wants more specifics on healthcare investment
The President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) West said she heard a lot about investment in healthcare, but wanted to see more details and more targeted investments in this year’s budget.
“This budget, they've said they are going to find $19-million in savings and put that towards frontline health care,” SEIU-West president Barbara Cape said. “There are 26,000 healthcare providers in unions all across the province that are still waiting for that investment.”
Cape said she wants to know when, exactly, the investments will be made.
“My question to the Minister of Finance and the Premier is when are we going to see that investment in frontline healthcare workers? Because it ain't happening right now."
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