Premier Scott Moe promised a $500 affordability tax credit cheque to every Saskatchewan resident age 18 and older this fall due to a better than expected economic performance.
Moe made the announcement in a video posted on social media Monday afternoon. In it, he said the province’s financial picture has improved “much faster than expected” due to the performance of the resource sector, and that means the province can afford the $500/adult tax credit.
Moe said the money was intended to help residents pay for necessities that have significantly risen in price over the past few months.
“Higher resource prices are driving our economy, and they are creating thousands of new jobs,” Moe said in the video. “This has greatly improved our budget position from a deficit to a surplus. That’s good news, but it also means the cost of almost everything that you buy has gone up.
“You own the resources and you should benefit when those resource prices are high, so this fall, we’ll be sending a $500 affordability tax credit cheque to everyone in Saskatchewan age 18 and over to help with some of those rising costs.”
Moe added that finance minister Donna Harpauer would unveil more details about the $500 tax credit when she deliverers her economic update at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
The Premier said the province also intends to pay down debt, and aid small businesses with the unexpected additional resource revenue.
Opposition finance critic Trent Wotherspoon blasted the plan as ‘buy’ election bucks in a statement released Monday afternoon.
Wotherspoon said there’s no doubt Saskatchewan families have struggled with high inflation rates, rising costs, and increased living expenses. However, said the government has added to those problems through their policies, and $500 for every person won’t be enough to make up the loss.
“They should have offered this relief months ago as we’ve been calling for, in addition to scrapping their new taxes, utility increases, and fee hikes,” Wotherspoon’s statement reads. “While other provincial governments acted to provide affordability relief, the Sask. Party has waited until right before their by-election call.”
Opposition leader Carla Beck also criticized the plan, and called on the government to reverse the tax and fee hikes they placed on residents in past budgets.
“This ($500) won’t even cover the extra costs your government has put on people,” Beck wrote in a post on social media.