Thursday, March 19, 2009

School Property Tax Relief at Last!

A long long fight to lower school property taxes took a substantial leap forward with the recent Saskatchewan Budget. The provincial share of school funding will grow from 51 percent of the total to 63 this year, and to 66 the next. The province has also pledged to cover all future inflationary and wage hike costs, which means that that percentage will continue to increase in future years. It has also taken over setting mill rates for school boards, which means it has better and more consistant fiscal controls on school funding.

In addition, municipalities will receive 20% of PST revenues, which amounts to 1 point out of 5 (.9 this year and 1.0 the next). This represents a 24% increase in revenues. This means that wherever one lives in the province, property taxes are going down.

Best of all, there's a $424 million surplus anticipated in this budget. Much of it rides on $1.9 billion of potash revenue. However, estimates were quite conservative on potash prices. There's strong reason to anticipate that an additional $500 million may come from potash this year. Saskatchewan is still on a roll.

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