Saskatchewan - Commentaries
Less is more (.pdf)Simply put, Saskatchewan needs to eliminate its debt and lower taxes. This less-is-more approach is just the tonic for a province crippled with debt, heavy school property taxes, and high income taxes. Recent windfall revenues mean Saskatchewan has its best chance in decades to deal with all three.
"In my lifetime--I'm 52--will I ever see wine or beer for sale in grocery stores " Premier Brad Wall was asked recently on a radio call-in show. "No" was the answer. Wall will stick to his election promise to keep the crowns in public hands. This means the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) will continue its wholesale and retail operations. Even so, Wall acknowledged this mandate still leaves plenty of room for change, and he was all ears for suggestions.
The $61 million Moose Jaw multiplex is only the latest proposal where Saskatchewan taxpayers are sinking millions into sports facilities. Elsewhere, Melfort and Yorkton are getting their own multiplexes. In Regina, IPSCO Place is undergoing a $60 million expansion to add more rinks and seating. And Mosaic Stadium will get a $5.8 million upgrade and maybe even an expansion. Unfortunately, the hard-earned dollars put into these facilities won't result in any economic development.
Does a 35 percent wage hike over four years sound like a good offer Not necessarily, says Rosalie Longmore, head of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses. Nevertheless, SUN members will vote on June 23rd on the "final offer" from the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO). Given the generous offer, nurses ought to vote yes.
Lyle Stewart says he wants the government to get out of the business of being in business. The problem is he can't find a way. Just as Minister of Crown Corporations Ken Cheveldayoff has to keep the crowns in public hands, Stewart's Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation must find a home for $150 million public dollars by the next election.
Municipal taxpayers, staring at staggering mill rate increases, are bracing themselves for the worst. A few weeks ago, Yorkton was preparing to raise mill rates by 9.8 percent, while Saskatoon's increase of 8.6 percent was unmatched since 1982. But mere hours before Regina was scheduled to impose a 3.9 percent mill rate hike, the province made a surprise announcement that it would come to the rescue.
Carbon Down, Bills Up LTT April 5 2008
If you had a billion extra tax dollars to spend, how would you spend it Would you pay off one-tenth of the provincial debt Would you reduce income taxes by three percent Or would you fund a project that reduces power production and drives utility rates up