2016-17 Provincial Budget: Rural Perspective

For Immediate Release

2016-17 Provincial Budget: Rural Perspective The Government of Saskatchewan has released the 2016-17 Provincial Budget.  Even in the midst of an economic downturn due to the decrease of revenues from the oil, gas and potash industries, the Province has continued to invest in areas that will support economic growth and development in rural Saskatchewan. First and foremost, SARM is very pleased that the Government of Saskatchewan’s commitment to maintaining the municipal revenue sharing formula has remained strong. “Municipalities rely on revenue sharing dollars to deliver services to residents, local business owners, and industry in rural Saskatchewan,” said SARM President Ray Orb. Rural municipalities (RM) will also benefit from the $16.07 million commitment to assist them with local road and bridge maintenance and construction projects through the Municipal Roads for the Economy Program (MREP). “While SARM requested a reinstatement of funding for MREP to 2013-2014 levels at $25.5 million, we appreciate no further cuts to the program,” said President Orb.  The Province’s commitment of $89 million in rural areas to maintain Thin Membrane Surface roads and other rural highways, repair flood damages and safety improvements is also welcomed, as is the $52 million dedicated to upgrading and replacing the numerous bridges and culverts across Saskatchewan. Allocating the necessary funds for road infrastructure will help support and facilitate economic growth in the province by ensuring that natural resource products can get to market safely and efficiently. Agriculture continues to remain an integral component of Saskatchewan’s economy during these times of fiscal restraint, as exemplified by the $15.3 billion in agriculture exports in 2015. The importance of this sector has been recognized by the Government of Saskatchewan as it has increased the Agriculture budget by 7.5 per cent to a total of $389.8 million. The Ministry of Agriculture’s Business Risk Management programs have also received a slight increase to a total of $254.6 million and agriculture research will receive $26.8 million in funding. These commitments by the Government of Saskatchewan will assist the agriculture sector in continuing to support Saskatchewan’s economy and ensure that producers continue feeding the world. Rural Saskatchewan will also benefit from Budget 2016-17’s increased funding commitment for rural physician recruitment and the Government’s decision not to increase education property tax. These commitments are appreciated by SARM and will help to support the quality of life in rural Saskatchewan. “The funding commitments made to highways and infrastructure, and the agriculture sector demonstrates that the Government of Saskatchewan understands the importance that highways and agriculture play in supporting the province’s economy,” said SARM President Ray Orb. For more information please contact:  Jay MeyerExecutive Director(306) 761-3721