Prince Albert MLA defends provincial budget

By paNOW Staff
April 12, 2018 - 12:00pm Updated: April 14, 2018 - 8:06am

The member of the Saskatchewan legislature for the riding of Prince Albert Carlton has been put in full defensive mode over this week's provincial budget.

Both Mayor Greg Dionne and Councilor Don Cody have been very vocal about how they feel regarding the province decreasing funds for municipal revenue sharing. Prince Albert lost $2.5 million in grants-in-lieu payments in 2017, and over $3 million this year. The city will only see $6.33 million in 2018, down from $6.77 million.

Joe Hargrave said the revenue sharing formula is based on the provincial sales tax paid by the province (cities receive one per-cent of that) and added Prince Albert city council should not be surprised by what they get this year.

"The PST is not calculated from January last year, it's basically calculated from two years ago before everything works its way through so they knew it was coming," Hargrave said. He added the funding the city gets now is 110 per cent higher than what they received from the previous government.

While Cody said he anticipated revenue sharing dollars from PST to be down, he said he expected the province to back-fill the losses. Hargrave said Cody was in no position to criticize the revenue sharing formula, given Cody's past experience as an NDP MLA and minister.

"His government had no formula, it was sort of like hit-and-miss whatever they felt like giving to a city here and there," Hargrave said.

Hargrave said this is a good budget and shows the government has a plan to bring the books back to balance. He maintained that while the government is keeping a close eye where it is spending money, there has still been good investment in social serves, education and infrastructure. The provincial NDP have criticized the government for not thinking long term and running budgets toward election cycles. Hargrave dismissed that claim and said this budget just shows where the government stands in its plan.

"You can't do it in one year but three years was a reasonable time frame to bring the books back to balance"

Hargrave also wanted to acknowledge the City of Humboldt, the Broncos hockey team as well as the first responders who arrived at the bus crash on April 6. Hargrave said everywhere he goes, people are talking about the bus crash and said the entire province has shown so much strength in the wake of such a huge tragedy.


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