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CAUT Bulletin Archives

April 2000

Higher PSE Funding & Big Tax Cuts in Saskatchewan

The NDP-Liberal coalition government of Saskatchewan, bolstered by greater than expected revenues from surging oil and gas prices, is devoting the bulk of its surplus to tax cuts while offering more modest increases in spending for health and education. The budget increases the funding of universities and colleges by about 7 per cent in the next year, and boosts capital expenditures by about 4 per cent. Barb Byers, head of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, said that despite the spending increases announced in the budget the government should have done much more. "The size of the surplus and the announced tax cuts show the provincial treasury could have done more to increase health spending and give post-secondary education students a break on tuition," Byers said. The budget instead focussed on a new three rate tax structure ­ 11 per cent for incomes below $35,000, 13 per cent for incomes between $35,000 and $100,000, and 15 per cent for incomes above $100,000. "I would call this the made in Alberta budget," stated Larry Haiven, a commerce professor at the University of Saskatchewan and architect of the alternative provincial budget. "The new tax structure is viciously regressive."