Chances are you have seen the billboards in Yorkton – the ones asking me specifically “Where Did The Money Go?”
I was happy to answer this question when it was raised by the NDP in the lead up to the last election, and I am happy to do it again for the SGEU.
The money went to Saskatchewan people.
The money went to over $5.5 billion in cumulative tax relief, including the largest education property tax reduction in Saskatchewan history.
112,000 Saskatchewan people no longer pay any provincial income tax at all.
The money went to pay down the operating debt of the province, saving $1 billion in interest payments. Even with recent deficits, our operating debt is still 10 per cent lower than it was in 2008.
From highway repairs and bridge replacements to hospitals and housing, over $27 billion went to new and improved infrastructure that had long been neglected under the NDP.
The money paid for 840 new teaching positions, 173 more student support teachers, and helped to build 40 new and replacement schools. It also went toward capital improvements at several local schools including Yorkton Regional High, St. Paul’s School and St. Alphonsus School.
The money went to needed health care infrastructure like the new Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford and the much-anticipated Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon. It was invested in long-term care facilities and supports for seniors, including the tripling of benefits under the Seniors Income Plan.
The money went to almost 900 more doctors, more than 3,700 additional nurses of every designation, and helped us to more than double the funding for the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. It also went to a successful surgical wait time initiative that took our wait times for surgery from the very longest in the country under the NDP to among the very shortest today.
The money went back to Saskatchewan municipalities in a variety of ways, including targeted police initiatives and a Municipal Revenue Sharing program that has delivered a 118 per cent funding increase to the City of Yorkton.
The money went to thousands of new child care spaces with more being added every year, it has helped to more than double the supports provided to people with disabilities, and it went to increase support for child and family programs.
That’s where the money went.
If SGEU members wonder where their money went, they’ll find it in the form of ominous-looking billboards in Yorkton and communities across the province.