I like Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. He and his Saskatchewan Party have run a good ship in a province that was once an economic basket case. His stewardship has saved them from living under the job killing NDP hordes, but that doesn’t mean all is good in the land of wheat and mustard.
Just like in neighbouring Alberta, resource revenues are falling - the drop in the price of oil and gas, lower demand for potash and other resources means pressure on the books for Wall’s government.
The unfortunate part is, by all accounts it looks like Wall could be raising taxes in his budget next week, and that’s the wrong move.
Wall has said all options are on the table and isn’t ruling out tax hikes. Speculation is that could include raising the PST from 5 to 8 percent, and business and personal income taxes could be hiked. Property tax rates were already hiked, and while that money goes to municipalities, it was mandated by provincial action and there’s only one taxpayer.
There’s lots of support for Wall to raise taxes in the province’s mostly left wing ‘never met a socialist they didn’t like’ media, so there will be pressure, but the answer needs to be no.
Watch as I explain why like so many governments, even those run by people assumed to be conservative, the problem for Saskatchewan isn’t so much a revenue problem but a spending problem.
Brad Wall is outspending Rachel Notley, Kristy Clark, Kathleen Wynne, and even the government of Quebec which regardless of who’s in power, is essentially a socialist state.
What he should be doing is looking at cutting spending and tightening the provincial belt.
I want to point out that even the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives agrees with me with the organization’s provincial director offering a warning against tax hikes in a CBC interview.
"In an economic downturn, it's really not a good idea to raise taxes," Enoch said.
Of course they would have the province run deficits forever, I wouldn’t. Families across Saskatchewan have had to make do with less because of the economic downturn, why shouldn’t the government make do with less as well?
Be smart, be prudent about the cuts, don’t hack off vital services, but like any business or family out there, Wall and his government should be able to find 10 percent in savings rather than taking more money from the pockets of people that are already tapped out.