News

Report from the Legislature

March 20, 2014

Report from the Legislature

March 19, 2014

Saskatchewan's population is now 1,117,503 – growth of more than 20,000 people in the last year.

To support and encourage this steady growth, our government has presented its seventh consecutive

balanced budget. This budget controls spending while managing to make key investments in our

infrastructure and our people. The 2014-15 budget is also balanced without tax increases.

Our Steady Growth budget accounts for all government revenue and all government spending with a

projected surplus of $71 million. With revenue essentially flat – down 0.7% from last year to $14.07

billion – this wasn't easy. With a decline in revenue, we had a choice to make. Do we raise taxes

or control spending? Our preference will always be to balance the budget by controlling spending.

This is something we were able to accomplish while making targeted investments in infrastructure,

employment and job training, seniors, students, people with disabilities, children and families.

Our government continues to build and upgrade infrastructure right across the province, meeting

the challenges of growth and planning for future growth. Whether schools or hospitals, highways or

high-speed data networks, power generation plants, bridges or natural gas transmission lines, our

government is building for the future. Key infrastructure investments include:

• $405.2 million to provide provincial highway and transportation infrastructure upgrades,

including twinning Highway 16 from Saskatoon to Clavet, pre-construction work on a number of

twinning projects on Highways 6, 7 and 39, and pre-construction work for future passing lanes

on Highway 7 from Delisle to Rosetown;

• $16.0 million to complete the new hospital in Moose Jaw;

• $2.0 million to begin planning the renewal of Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert;

• $4.1 million for planning four new major school projects including replacing the Connaught

School and Sacred Heart School in Regina as well as major renovation projects for St. Brieux

School and Sacred Heart in Moose Jaw;

• $32.6 million transferred for post-secondary capital initiatives, an increase of $7.1 million or

28 per cent over last year. Initiatives include capital maintenance, $6.5 million for continued

construction of the Health Sciences Facility at the University of Saskatchewan, $4.5 million for

the Trades and Technology Centre at Parkland Regional College in Yorkton and $1.0 million for

continued construction of Weyburn's Southeast Regional College.

Key investments in people and quality of life include:

• Record funding of nearly $5.0 billion to be spent through the Ministry of Health - a 3.0 per cent

increase compared to last year - to deliver high-quality health care services for Saskatchewan

people;

• Regional health authorities will receive $3.25 billion, up 3.4 per cent from last year, for

operating funding and targeted initiatives;

• $60.5 million for the surgical waitlist initiative, aiming to meet the three month waitlist target

for all regional health authorities by the end of 2014-15;

• $13.15 million - an increase of $3.4 million compared to last year - for the operation of five

Collaborative Emergency Centres, as well as to enhance primary health care sites;

• $4.5 million for the HomeFirst/Quick Response Homecare program - an increase of $2.5 million

over last year;

• $3.7 million for ongoing enhancements to the Seniors' Care Urgent Action Fund to address

issues in long-term care facilities;

• $800,000 to develop a new Seniors' House Calls program for seniors with complex issues;

• $155.7 million, up $4.9 million or 3.3 per cent compared to last year, for initiatives including the

planning, delivery and evaluation of cancer care through the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency;

• $956.5 million to be spent through the Ministry of Social Services - up $65.8 million or 7.4 per

cent compared to last year;

• $446.2 million, up $84.3 million compared to last year, for new and enhanced programming for

people with disabilities and for increased utilization;

• $8.7 million increase for Child and Family agenda initiatives bringing the total commitment in

new funding to $62.5 million since 2011;

• $1.76 billion to be spent through the Ministry of Education, an increase of $52.4 million over last

year;

• School operating funding provided to school divisions is $1.82 billion, an increase of 2.4 per cent

from last year and is made up of $1.17 billion from the Ministry of Education and $646.7 million

from Education Property Tax;

• $52.7 million, up 4.3 per cent compared to last year, to expand the number of child care spaces

by 500;

• $20.4 million - an increase of more than 6.0 per cent over last year - to support 15 new pre-K

programs;

• $668.9 million for post-secondary institution operating grants and targeted funding, an increase

of $16.8 million compared to last year;

• Direct student supports of $216.0 million, an increase of $18.5 million over last year or 9.4 per

cent, including:

o $82 million through the Graduate Retention Program, up $18.1 million from last year;

o $37.4 million for other ongoing provincial tax credits related to education costs and

interest paid on student loans;

o $32.5 million for the Student Aid Fund;

o $31.0 million for the Provincial Training Allowance;

o $7.5 million for the Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings;

o $7.0 million for the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship; and

o $5.0 million for the Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship;

• Increases of $2.1 million to add 700 new Adult Basic Education spaces and $1 million to add 300

new apprenticeship training seats;

• $189.2 million - an increase of $4.4 million or 2.4 per cent over last year - for initiatives that

directly benefit First Nations and Métis people including $6.0 million to double funding for

initiatives related to the Joint Task Force on First Nation and Metis Education and Employment;

and

• $394.6 million of direct provincial support to municipalities, an increase of $32.8 million, or 9.1

per cent, from last year and an increase of $152.7 million or 63.1 per cent from the 2007-08

Budget.

With our government changing to a summary financial focus, a move recommended and supported

by the Provincial Auditor, steady growth is the big picture. With a full view of what's happening in

Saskatchewan today, we have a vision for the long-term. This budget strengthens government's fiscal

accountability while meeting the challenges of a growing province. It helps secure a better quality of life

and it represents another confident step forward on our government's path of steady growth.

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