Bracing for budgets

The immediate future of several government initiatives, both federally and provincially, will be revealed today, as both the provincial government led by Brad Wall and Justin Trudeau’s federal government will introduce their latest budgets.

Both governments are facing difficult decisions brought on by low resource prices and a recovering economy, which has led to predictions of massive deficits.

The federal government is expected to map out its plan or an eventual return to balanced budgets. Meanwhile, the Sask. Party is expected to outline its plan of “transformational change,” which may include reduced spending and increased revenue to deal with a deficit that has been estimated as high as $1.2 billion.

Local politicians, including Conservative MP Randy Hoback and NDP MLA Nicole Rancourt, will be watching closely in an effort, as members of the federal and provincial opposition parties, respectively, to keep the government in check.

Prior to releasing the budget, Premier Brad Wall indicated he was looking for a 3.5 per cent cut across the board to public sector compensation.

He also hinted his government would look for a shift towards consumption taxes, and away from a reliance on income taxes and resource revenue.

The Herald connected with Nicole Rancourt Tuesday afternoon to discuss what she was looking for in the provincial document.

Rancourt hoped the government wouldn’t stick to its 3.5 per cent compensation reduction plan.

“I know across the board that’s just going to mean an overall impact of cutting services. … It’s going to be really detrimental.”

Rancourt said the NDP is waiting to see what will happen today.

“For myself, I’m going to be paying close attention to any of the changes within the budget that might impact Prince Albert and agencies in Prince Albert that rely on funding from the province,” she said.

For complete budget coverage, please check out upcoming editions of the Prince Albert Daily Herald.

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