Rural policing cash, cuts to municipalities: Highlights of the Saskatchewan budget

REGINA - The Saskatchewan government tabled its budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year on Tuesday. Here are some of the highlights:

— Sales of energy-efficient appliances, as well as used cars and light trucks above $5,000, will no longer be exempt from the provincial sales tax.

— The government is backtracking on an earlier promise to cut personal income tax rates by 0.5 per cent, and will no longer adjust tax brackets to match inflation.

— The Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement for low-income earners will stop accepting new applications on July 1.

— Grants-in-lieu to municipalities cut last year are being restored, but direct support to municipalities is being cut 4.9 per cent.

— More municipalities will now have the option of levying a five per cent SaskEnergy surcharge on residents.

— Funding for First Nations and Metis organizations is being cut 1.5 per cent.

— Funding for school divisions, social assistance and other areas will see increases below the rate of inflation.

— Agricultural facilities that spend at least $10 million to increase capacity get a new 15 per cent tax credit.

— Almost $5 million will be spent fighting rural crime, including adding 30 police positions.

— The budget predicts a deficit of $365 million — down from $595 million last year — and aims to balance the budget next year.


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