With Wednesday’s unveiling of the 2023-24 Saskatchewan budget, the Saskatchewan NDP’s Moose Jaw-Wakamow Constituency Association wants to take the time to answer any questions residents may have.
They will be hosting a budget forum on Sunday from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. at the Moose Jaw Union Centre – Main Hall (1402 Caribou St. W).
Saskatchewan's NDP leader, Carla Beck, and Opposition Finance Critic, Trent Wotherspoon will be in attendance to speak to their constituents.
Moose Jaw-Wakamow's secretary-treasurer, Stacey Landin says this forum is an opportunity for further explanation of how the budget will affect residents.
“Pocketbook items that aren’t necessarily available to folks to see what’s happening with the budget without a bit more inspection into the details,” says Landin. “This is about making sure they realize how the budget affects them and to be able to ask some questions.”
Landin adds that the party also wants to cover any smaller details that may not be part of bigger news stories or press releases that could hold significant weight moving forward.
“There are often issues that people feel personally for that you might not catch on to until it hits you in the face as you're paying your bill for something, or your services are different than they were prior to the budget,” adds Landin. “We like to make sure people have the ability to find out those details and to plan around them.”
From the 2023-24 provincial budget, affordability was top of mind for the NDP to help residents combat the increase in inflation.
“I think people are feeling the pinch in every possible area. Everything they pay for and their cost of living. We’re fighting for more fairness so that everyday working people can see some benefits from this province. This is a great province but not everybody sees benefits filter down to them.”
The province is estimating a projected revenue of $19.7 billion, up $2.5 billion or 14.7 per cent, from last year. Expenses are expected to be in the range of $18.7 billion, up $1 billion or 5.9 per cent from last year.
The budget includes no new taxes and no tax increases. Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said there are about $2 billion in initiatives built into the budget each year to keep life affordable for residents in Saskatchewan.
With the surplus, the province is expected to pay down $1 billion in operating debt, which would reduce the interest costs by $44 million yearly.
The association tries to host a budget forum every year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will mark the first one in over three years. In recent years, Landin says that they typically have pretty good attendance.
If residents have any questions or want to learn more they can reach out to Landin via phone at 306-631-6613 or email firstname.lastname@example.org