March 16, 2017

Premier Wall pushed to raise taxes in face of falling revenues: Here’s why he shouldn’t

Brian LilleyArchive

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.

When Trudeau announced his plan for forcing a national carbon tax on any province without one, Wall said it was the wrong move because it would hurt the economy, and the same argument applies here.

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.

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commented 2017-03-18 00:11:55 -0400
I have a suggestion….teach the academic deconstructionists a lesson…..FUNDING IS A CONSTRUCT.
commented 2017-03-17 11:32:32 -0400
I hope that Brad Wall does not raise any taxes, but does the true Conservative thing to do, cut spending!
commented 2017-03-17 09:30:47 -0400
i sneaked through the straw curtain in 97(they were too poor to afford an iron one)to avail myself of the Alberta advantage…never thought i’d see the day when Albertans would kneecap themselves and elect an ndipstick govt…i was single then…now i have a wife and kids…not so easy to toss all my stuff into the back of a pickup and move…hopefully, Saskatchewan continues to prosper…hopefully we can hang on and survive rachel and her hordes…a proud Alberta sewer rat…and Rider fan.
commented 2017-03-17 02:51:03 -0400
I hope Wall does not forget about the Saskatchewan advantage.
commented 2017-03-17 02:10:33 -0400
Robert; Not to get too far into the weeds here but Wall couldn’t save the Weyerhaeuser mill if he wanted too. The union coupled with high grade paper that couldn’t sell did them in. Potential buyers didn’t come through so the paper mill was parted out and shipped out of the country. They’re parting out the pulp side too , if it’s not already done.
commented 2017-03-17 00:49:05 -0400
I like Brad Wall as well, but I still feel the Sask Party made a mistake 15 years ago when they basically let the forestry industry die with the closure of a pulp and paper processing mill which directly employed 1000 people and another 4000 people with the other jobs that were directly related in ensuring its operation. It seems to me he put all his faith in the potash, uranium and oil resources when it might have been nice to havean additional resource to fall back on now in times like these. I also question him putting Don McMorris back in a high ranking, high paying, senior position after his fiasco, and the MLA’s won’t even reveal to the people that they represent how they voted on him getting back into power. Anyone else at any other job wouldn’t be getting the accomodations that he is seen getting.
commented 2017-03-16 22:50:09 -0400
I know someone who is some kind of manager at Sask. Power. He worked most of his career in the private sector and knows what waste looks like. He said Sask Power has really gross inefficiencies ( Sask also has highest hydro rates, worse than Ontario) and that their union bullied pay package is outrageous. While Brad hasn’t given into a provincial carbon tax, hasn’t he spent ridiculous amounts of money on that carbon capture project he touts which Trudeau’s environazis ignore? The NDP started the sequester project before Brad, but Brad really took up the baton there. SaskPower paid Cenovus (the company ‘buying’ the sequestered C02) huge penalties for not meeting their contracted deliverables. Turns out Sask. can’t capture enough carbon dioxide to keep up with the contract. It’s more complicated than that, but it sounds like without a decent oil price to pad things, Sask Power alone could suck that province dry. I hope Brad can figure out that mess.

Here is a very long but funny article explaining, if you want a laugh
commented 2017-03-16 22:44:25 -0400
Canadian Mongrel—coming from decades in the Private Sector, you are 100% correct. To show how unnecessary many of these jobs are, wait for a snowstorm and the Gov’t gives almost everyone the day off.
commented 2017-03-16 18:40:55 -0400
In the private sector, when revenues fall, lay-offs occur. This should be the same in the public sector: non-essential bureaucrats should be laid off with falling government revenues.