It’s hard to know what to make of Wednesday’s provincial budget.
If you’re a Sask Party MLA (or member), there’s an excellent chance you’re enthused.
“This budget is designed to meet the challenges of a growing province,” Finance Minister Ken Krawetz said on Wednesday. “It is balanced, it contains no tax increases, it controls spending, it makes important investments in infrastructure and it makes important investments in people and it will keep Saskatchewan on the path of steady growth.”
If you’re from the NDP or any left-leaning groups, you’re likely to find an abundant number of lost opportunities in the document.
“This budget, although we have a strong economy and it might be working well for some government, it really is not delivering the goods where they count for Saskatchewan families,” NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon said on Thursday. “It is a budget full of cuts and crumbs.”
While Wotherspoon was perhaps a little more poetic with his words, everything else was completely and utterly predictable.
In Thursday’s paper we had three Sask. Party MLAs celebrating a great document. In today’s paper, the NDP bashes it.
That’s the theatre of any budget.
It’s OK to have mixed feelings about these things and perhaps even inclinations that are contrary to each other.
We’re happy that we won’t be paying more taxes but perhaps wishing that more concrete steps were being taken to rebuilding or revitalizing this city’s busy Victoria Hospital.
We’re happy the budget is balanced but might want to see progress on a new bridge or multiplex or infrastructure funding or any number of pet projects.
It’s never an easy document to prepare and you know that even with the best budget in history you’ll draw fire. And it’s instructive to remember that the wisdom isn’t limited to the government benches and great ideas may have been missed.
We wish that a few dollars had been set aside for the future. It will be a promising day when Saskatchewan has its own version of the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund to save for a rainy day.
Perhaps the best news is that the province’s acting auditor general is happy with the way that the budget was presented because it will give a more complete job of the government’s finances.
If the people of Saskatchewan have a better idea where things stand, they can hold the government’s feet to the fire in bad times and applaud them in the good times.
The one thing that people of any politicial stripe can hope for is that we have another terrific year in this province and that the optimistic projections are proven to be conservative.
After all, ending the year with a little extra money in your pocket is never a bad thing.
Prince Albert Daily Herald