The provincial government’s 2014-15 budget squeezes families and the services they count on, ensuring for another year that the strong economy will benefit government, not people.
The message this budget sends everyday families is to brace themselves – the things they count on and really need improvements to are going to get even worse. Saskatchewan people deserve for the strong economy to translate into better hospitals, smaller classrooms and an improved cost of living.
Instead of investing in programs that could benefit Saskatchewan families, this government chose to spend millions on pet projects, American lean consultants, Japanese sensei and standardized testing. No new money was put towards the crisis in seniors care, despite it being understaffed and in desperate need of baths, lifts and call bell systems.
In response to classrooms being overcrowded and under-resourced, the government is spending millions on out-dated standardized testing, instead of increasing the number of educational assistants and reducing class sizes. It’s also cutting the education capital budget by $23.4 million at a time when those dollars are needed for students and teachers.
Municipalities were given less this year, which is putting more financial strain on families and property tax payers that are already under the stress of rising monthly bills from SaskTel internet, SaskPower, SaskEnergy and SGI.
We strongly opposed the government’s wrong-headed proposal to hike education property taxes, so we were pleased that government shelved its plan to raise these taxes.
Given the strong economy, families, students and seniors deserve better.
Trent Wotherspoon - NDP Deputy Leader and Finance Critic