Legislative Report (14 August 2008)
People Want Balanced, Prudent Approach To Spending The Budget Surplus
After a summer spent talking to constituents, MLAs told Premier Brad Wall people want our government to be balanced and prudent when it comes to investing the growing budget surplus. They were reporting to the Premier at the Saskatchewan Party summer caucus retreat.
Premier Wall says while we have already paid down a third of the debt, and invested an unprecedented $1 billion investment in infrastructure improvements, there is “much more to do.”
“These are times of unprecedented prosperity in our province, and the challenge ahead is to make sure that prosperity continues and benefits all Saskatchewan families,” Wall said. “The challenge will be finding the right balance to sustain the economic momentum and ensure all Saskatchewan people enjoy the benefits.”
HISTORIC OIL RIGHTS LAND SALES CONTINUE
August crown petroleum and natural gas rights sales generated almost $243 million in revenue, the second highest in Saskatchewan’s history, and just slightly behind April’s all-time record. Year-to-date revenue stands at just over $848 million, with two sales left in the year. It is clear the oil and gas industry likes what is happening in Saskatchewan, in terms of our business climate and opportunities for investment. Industry confidence not only means more revenue for the province, it also means more economic activity in the future as well as jobs and opportunity for Saskatchewan people.
SEEKING INPUT ON EXTENDING TERMS FOR LOCAL OFFICIALS
In keeping with our commitments to consult and be accountable to the public, our government is asking for public input on whether the terms of local government officials should be extended to four years. This arises from a resolution passed at the 2008 Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) convention and would bring us in line with seven other provinces that have four year terms. By consulting and asking for input we are being consistent with our goals of being open and accountable to the people of Saskatchewan. It also helps maintain a respectful government-to-government relationship with municipal sector partners. To submit comments, please go to Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
DOUBLING FUNDING FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
After a lengthy public consultation process, our government is moving forward on doubling the province’s investment into regional economic development, from $2.5 million to $5 million. The funding increase follows several months of meetings with regional economic development authorities that will also see the old REDA program replaced by the new Enterprise Region program. Enterprise Regions are larger and based on where people live and work as well as on natural geographic boundaries. Our government recognizes the important role regional economic development plays in sustaining growth.
RECORD SUMMER ROADWORK SEASON CONTINUES
Transportation infrastructure also plays a major role in sustaining growth, which is why record-breaking roadwork is underway this summer across the province. Our government is addressing the infrastructure deficit created by the NDP through our $1 billion Ready for Growth fund, $513 million of which was committed to repairing and upgrading roads and highways. Some of the projects include the twinning of Highway 16 through Lloydminster, $50 million in improvements to the provincial and municipal road network in west central Saskatchewan, the twinning of Highway 11 between Saskatoon and Prince Albert and the re-paving of a section of Highway 2 near Waskesiu. Remember to slow down to 60 kilometres an hour and use caution when approaching and travelling through construction zones. For further details regarding ongoing construction, maintenance activities and advisory reports, there are interactive maps available online here; or you can call 1-888-335-7623.
SHARING THE BENEFITS OF GROWTH
By listening to constituents, building relationships with municipal politicians and investing in economic development and transportation infrastructure, our government is taking positive steps to sustain the economic momentum. With that being said, we want to know what else we should we be doing. Our government will continue to accept submission on what your priorities are until September 1, 2008. Tell your MLA or make a submission on-line at the Saskatchewan Party Caucus website by clicking on “Sharing the Benefits.”
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Nadine.
Past Legislative Reports