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Legislative Report

March 14, 2013

Report from the Legislature, March 14, 2013

Our government is committed to ensuring Saskatchewan remains the best place in Canada to live, work
and raise a family. To that end, we have announced that education property tax rates will be reduced
in next week's budget. The overall value of property in Saskatchewan has increased by 67 per cent
over the last five years, which could have meant significant property tax increases. Reducing education
property tax rates will help mitigate those increases. While some property owners may still see their
taxes go up, others will go down and the overall impact in terms of re-assessment will be revenue
neutral across Saskatchewan. When we first took office five years ago, property taxes funded about 60
percent of K-12 school costs. Because of changes made by our government, education property taxes
now only fund about 35 per cent of those costs, with the remainder being covered by the provincial
government. With a growing population and increased school enrolment, ensuring school divisions have
the financial support they need is an important component in planning for growth.

Planning for growth also means ensuring Saskatchewan families have timely access to high quality
healthcare, no matter where they live. Recruiting doctors to rural areas, and then keeping them there,
is a major priority for our government. The new Rural Physician Incentive Program is a significant first
step toward improving access to physician services outside major urban centres. The program will
provide $120,000 in funding over five years to recent medical graduates who practice in communities
of 10,000 or less. Eligible physicians will receive a payment at the end of each year of practice, with
those payments gradually increasing over that five-year period. Not only will the Rural Physician
Incentive Program help ease the financial burden many new doctors find themselves under, it also
keeps and improves upon a commitment we made during the 2011 election campaign. Promise made,
promise kept.

And they say that in politics, as in life, you rarely get a second chance to make a first impression. That's
really too bad for new NDP leader Cam Broten. Minutes after delivering his first official speech as
leader, he came out in support of Dwain Lingenfelter's plan to cut a special deal with First Nations
on resource revenues. As a matter of fact, Broten could not think of one thing he would change in
the disastrous Lingenfelter election platform rejected by voters on November 7, 2011. Then when
asked about his position on the Keystone XL pipeline project, Broten was all over the map. At first, he
wouldn't say where he stood. Then he said he wanted to wait for National Energy Board approval. It
turns out though that Keystone received NEB approval three years ago. Broten ended his first week
in his new job by saying he did support Keystone, despite the fact that in May 2012 he voted against a
motion to support the project.

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