Last year’s bud­get still haunts tax­pay­ers

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY + REGION -

The Sask. Party 2017 bud­get is the gift that keeps on giv­ing. A year af­ter that dis­as­trous bud­get was re­leased, Saskatchewan peo­ple are still get­ting hit with new tax in­creases.

As mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties roll out their bud­gets for the up­com­ing fis­cal year, a com­mon theme is emerg­ing: tax­pay­ers are now be­ing forced to pay for the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s mis­man­age­ment through city tax in­creases that are di­rectly linked to Sask. Party bud­get cuts.

Cities and towns are feel­ing the pain. Last year’s pro­vin­cial bud­get cut grants-in-lieu of prop­erty taxes for pro­vin­cial Crowns. Tens of mil­lions in rev­enue, on which cities were re­ly­ing was clawed back by the prov­ince.

Saska­toon was forced to raise taxes by 4.7 per cent and scrap plans to move ahead with much­needed im­prove­ments to snow and ice re­moval. Regina posted a 4.3 per cent tax hike, on top of ear­lier an­nounced cuts to garbage col­lec­tion and other ser­vices. Moose Jaw had to hike taxes by 6.4 per cent, and faces the prospect of a steep deficit next year. A sig­nif­i­cant chunk of Swift Cur­rent’s whop­ping 13.14 per cent tax in­crease is due to pro­vin­cial cuts. York­ton lost $1.7 mil­lion and had to boost prop­erty taxes by 4.5 per cent.

Even if the next pro­vin­cial bud­get is more rea­son­able, cit­i­zens and tax­pay­ers will con­tinue to pay for the Sask. Party bud­get blun­ders for years to come.

Roseann Strelezki, Dor­in­tosh

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