The Saskatchewan government is raking in so much money, they don't know what to do with it. It took in $9.84 billion in 2007-08, almost $2 billion more than budget expectations. Money from non-renewable resources was $2.3 billion ($809.7 million above expectations), while tax revenues were $4.7 billion ($628.6 million over budget).
As new legislation dictates, the recent $1.3 billion surplus will be split evenly between debt repayment and its Growth and Financial Security Fund. That fund now has $1.6 billion, while provincial debt has been reduced to $6.8 billion.
Up next, hopefully, is more aggressive debt reduction and lower income taxes.
The question now is what the government will do with all the money, which includes $1.6 billion now sitting in its reserve fund.Meanwhile, the NDP is calling for lower gas taxes, lower utility rates, and an immediate reduction in the education portion of property tax. All this is sure proof it's a whole new ball game in Saskatchewan!
Finance Minister Rod Gantefoer listed the usual potential targets for the funding -- the provincial debt, infrastructure, property tax relief, increased municipal revenue sharing -- and added another option.
"Certainly the premier has said we should listen to the citizens in other areas as well, and certainly an issue that is being discussed and coming forward is personal income tax," Gantefoer said in a news conference at the legislature.