Rural policing gets a boost, municipalities get a cut in Saskatchewan budget

REGINA - Here are some of the winners and losers in Saskatchewan's budget tabled Tuesday:

WINNERS:

Police: The budget includes $4.9 million in new money to combat rural crime, including 30 new police traffic-safety positions.

Agriculture: A new 15 per cent tax credit will be established for agriculture facilities that invest at least $10 million to expand capacity.

New tech companies: A two-year pilot project will offer a 45 per cent tax credit for equity investments in technology start-up businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

Children with autism: As promised in last year's throne speech, children under the age of six with autism spectrum disorder will receive $4,000 for support services.

People on HIV medication: The government will provide an extra $600,000 to ensure universal drug coverage for HIV medications.

LOSERS:

Taxpayers: The government will no longer exempt used light vehicles and energy-efficient appliances from the provincial sales tax, and is backtracking on a promise to cut income tax rates next year.

Ratepayers: SaskEnergy rates will likely rise for many people as more municipalities will have the option of adding a five per cent surcharge.

Municipalities and First Nations: Direct provincial funding for municipalities is being cut this year by 4.9 per cent and First Nations groups are being cut by 1.5 per cent.

Low-income renters: The government will stop accepting new applications for the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement on July 1.

School divisions: A 1.6 per cent funding increase is more than some other areas will receive, but it falls below the rate of inflation.


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