Classrooms, care and communities

A ton of budget details, the NDP's response, what others thought, and more

March 21, 2024 | Advertise with us

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Good morning. Well, yesterday was a big day, with the 2024-25 Budget announcement. There’s a lot to read, so let’s get right to it!

Here’s The SKoop for today:

  • Provincial budget overview,

  • Getting down to the numbers,

  • The Opposition NDP’s response to the budget, and

  • Groups and organizations provide their thoughts on the budget.

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Today’s Top Stories

Sask. Budget sees record investments, projects $273M deficit

Credit: CTV News Regina

Donna Harpauer delivered the Saskatchewan Party government’s seventeenth budget, and her seventh and final budget as finance minister, on Wednesday. The 2024-25 budget predicts a $19.9B revenue forecast and $20.1B in expenses.

The theme of the budget was “Classrooms, Care, and Communities”. The budget saw a record increase in spending in nearly every ministry but focused on education, healthcare, and communities. The province announced it would be running a $273 million deficit.

The government announced increased record funding for education with the Ministry receiving $3.3B, including $356 million for classroom support. When it comes to care, the Ministry of Health will see a record $7.6 billion in 2024/25. This includes $574 million for mental health and addictions. The budget saw a record $42 million in municipal revenue sharing.

While the budget does not include any new taxes or tax increases, the budget did not see new measures announced to address the cost of living and affordability, like pausing the provincial gas tax or reducing the PST.

The 2024-25 Budget: By the numbers

Close up of man hand using calculator.
  • 11: the number of new or renovated schools receiving funding in this budget. $8.8 million has been allocated to begin planning for projects in several communities.

  • $7.6 billion: This year’s Health 🏥 budget. This means $30 million for the Regina Capacity Pressures Action Plan, $10 million for the new Regina Urgent Care Centre, and $248 million for the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency.

  • $336 million: The previously mentioned increase to the education 🏫budget for classroom supports.

  • 1,100: kilometers of highway that will be repaved or repaired this year. Also in the Highway’s budget was $59 million to repair 17 bridges.

  • $255 million: targeted funding for First Nations and Metis communities, an increase of $6 million from last year.

  • $793 million: investment into the post-secondary education sector this year. This includes a new grant to help reduce financial barriers to completing post-secondary education for low-income students with dependents.

“A breaking point”: The NDP response

Credit: CTV News

The Opposition NDP responded to the Budget Wednesday with Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon finding his feet in the assembly following the address to raise points of difference, saying, “Our hospitals and healthcare aren't working when we need them, our classrooms are at a breaking point and the people working in them feel ignored and disrespected. There’s a reason why thousands of hardworking teachers are in front of this building. They remember a 2016 election-year budget like this one that was heavy on promises that were broken with devastating cuts imposed instead.”

In a statement, NDP leader Carla Beck said, “The Sask. Party had a real chance to show that they are listening and get the challenges folks are going through, and they blew it. Saskatchewan families are breaking the bank just to fill the tank and this government still didn’t suspend their 15-cent tax on gas and diesel.”

Debate over the proposed budget will take place in the legislature over the coming days.

What else was said about the 2024 budget

Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities: “Today’s budget includes many priorities that our members have been asking for, although not perfect, we feel items in this budget go a long way to support our RMs and the people who live in rural Saskatchewan,” said Ray Orb, SARM President.

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