The most important detail in Wednesday’s provincial budget announcement should be a clear plan to dig out of a reported $1.2 billion deficit, according to the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce’s executive director.
By mid-afternoon Wednesday, Saskatchewan Finance Minister Kevin Doherty will reveal the provincial government’s fiscal blueprint. Premier Brad Wall has already indicated the plan will include a shift to taxes on consumption.
Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce executive director Kent Smith-Windsor admitted that while “nobody likes to pay taxes,” the government must look for a “tax base that’s got some stability to it.”
Smith-Windsor said a consumption tax would be “far better than depending on things like a property tax, which does distort investment or something like an income tax which reduces the incentive to put effort into your daily life.”
“If you’re going to have a tax system you want to have it as broad as possible and as low as possible,” Smith-Windsor said Tuesday.
Saskatchewan’s government isn’t the only one releasing its budget Wednesday afternoon. In Ottawa, Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau will reveal his fiscal plan, which Smith-Windsor also hopes will include a path to balance.
“It’s all about trajectory,” Smith-Windsor said.
“Being able to say we’ve got a target to be out of deficit at a certain time matters a lot in terms of people that are looking at the future costings for public services.”