Melfort leaders respond to provincial budget

By Nigel Maxwell
April 13, 2018 - 2:00pm

The Mayor of Melfort has said he is very encouraged by what he read in last Tuesday's provincial budget.

While there was no specific mention of Melfort, Rick Lang said the provincial government's decision to partially re-instate some of the grants-in-lieu will help his community to the tune of $38,000.

"Over the last two years the budget process has cut $330,000 out of our operating budget, $258,000 the first year and $72,000 last year," he said.

Lang said $38,000 many not seem like much money but it all helps. One concern on Lang's mind, is some talk from the "grape-vine" that the revenue sharing formula may change. Lang said basing the formula around the provincial sales tax paid by the province, is the fairest way of delivering revenue sharing.

"As the province's population has been growing, the bulk of that growth has been occurring in cities, towns and villages so the idea that revenue sharing is increasing to offset those financial pressures, that come with growth, is exactly what was supposed to happen in my mind," he said.

While Lang said he would like the present formula to stay untouched, he would also like the provincial government to find a way to ensure revenue sharing grows.

"I mean if the revenue sharing stays static that doesn't do us any good five years from now," Lang said.

Tuesday's provincial budget marked Todd Goudy's first budget as an MLA for the constituency, since being elected in the byelection March 1. Goudy said he was encouraged by the financial details.

"We are moving in the right direction back to a balanced budget and they've reduced the deficit in this budget drastically without any increase in taxes," he said.

Goudy said many farmers he has spoken to were happy with the changes made to crop insurance this year. Goudy said he also thinks a four year $750,000 mineral exploration strategy may present some opportunities for his constituency. 

One of the more controversial budget highlights has been the government's decision to apply PST to used car sales, but Goudy favoured the response.

"You know we certainly aren't putting on a carbon tax, that’s one thing clearly our province isn't for, but we need to shift the government's base away from the volatile resource revenue so we need to do something and I think [expanding the PST to used car sales] was a good way," he said.


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