Repayment of debt with budget surplus, affordability plan to help residents cope with rising cost of living
As the Prime Minister mentioned in a video message on Monday, the first quarter fiscal update projects a year-end surplus of $1.04 billion, as opposed to a deficit of $470 million. . Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said revenue is expected to be $19.17 billion, up $2.02 billion or just under 11% from budget, largely due to due to a $1.86 billion increase in non-renewable resource revenues due to higher potash and oil prices. It means being able to balance the budget, pay down debt and help Saskatchewan residents with the cost of living.
To that end, all Saskatchewan residents who turn 18 at the end of December and have filed a tax return will receive a one-time check for $500 for the Saskatchewan Accessibility Tax Credit this fall. This is part of the province’s new affordability plan, which is detailed below. Total spending is expected to be $18.13 billion, an increase of 2.9% over budget. Harpauer says that’s largely due to the $450 million needed for those checks.
Finance Minister Donna Harpauer says the timing of the announcement of the $500 affordability tax credit for all Saskatchewan adults who filed taxes in 2021 has nothing to do with the upcoming Saskatoon Meewasin by-election. She says: ‘Because there was pressure to do it sooner, we were very upfront that we wouldn’t look at it until we had more data, and in fact I think which I have set for the end of August. We did not force a by-election. The NDP did it, and it was their choice. The riding of Saskatoon Meewasin has been vacant since July 1, following the resignation of former NDP leader Ryan Meili. No date has yet been set, but it must take place within six months or before January 1. The NDP nominated Nathaniel Teed, a small business owner and former teacher. The Sask Party candidate is businessman Kim Groff, who has previously run for the party, and provincial Liberal leader Jeff Walters.
dot one of the four-point plan is the payment of the $500 Affordability Tax Credit this fall for all residents 18 and older as of December 31, who have filed a 2021 tax return. haven’t filed their taxes, if you want to get that money, is to do it before the end of October. Harpauer notes that the $500 will not be taxed either provincially or federally. She adds that those who have not filed their tax returns are also missing the GST rebate, the carbon tax rebate and possibly the low-income tax rebate, and they don’t, they miss out on about $1,000 a year. If needed, Harpauer says community organizations and social services can help residents file their taxes.
dot two is not to add fitness and gym membership and certain other recreational activities to the planned October expansion of the PST. They will continue to be exempt.
dot three is to extend the reduction of the small business tax rate to zero percent retroactively to July 1 and to delay restoring the rate to 2% until July 1, 2024. Harpauer says this will help small businesses recover from the pandemic, while also facing new challenges such as inflationary pressures, interest rate hikes and supply chain issues.
dot four gets rid of up to $1 billion in operating debt. As noted above, debt is expected to be $1.72 billion lower at year-end than budgeted, which Harpauer says means they can repay up to $1 billion. of debt and that the province no longer needs to borrow for its operations. due to the improved financial situation. It is estimated that it will reduce interest costs by $49 million.