For Immediate Release
SARM Comments on the 2019 Federal Budget
The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) has reviewed the federal government’s 2019 budget.
SARM has long been advocating for access to reliable broadband in rural Saskatchewan. We are pleased to see the 2019 budget propose a new, coordinated plan that will deliver $5 billion to $6 billion in new investments in rural broadband over the next 10 years. SARM is eager to see how these dollars will roll out to connect our communities to the global marketplace while improving quality of life for all. “Access to an essential service, such as reliable broadband can assist in boosting the economic and social wellbeing of our rural communities,” said President Ray Orb. “We are happy to see that the federal government has listened to the rural voice on this issue.”
In 2017, SARM lobbied on behalf of rural farmers, ranchers, and small business owners urging the federal government to reconsider proposed changes to the taxation of private corporations. The federal government will continue its outreach to farmers and small business owners throughout 2019 to develop new proposals to better accommodate intergenerational transfers of businesses. Budget 2019 proposes to extend relief from the tax rules designed to prevent the multiplication of the small business deduction to the sales of farming products to any arm’s length corporation. This measure applies to taxation years that begin after March 21, 2016.
SARM is also pleased to hear the Government is working to develop the Western Canada Growth Strategy to reflect the unique regional advantages of the western provinces. Budget 2019 proposes to provide $100 million over three years, starting in 2019-20, to Western Economic Diversification Canada to increase its programming in western Canada. The TransMountain Pipeline is part of the strategy and SARM is disappointed that there was no mention of a plan to move this project forward to support the western economy.
The budget proposes a one-time transfer of $2.2 billion through the federal Gas Tax Fund to address short term priorities in municipalities. This doubling of dollars available for 2018-19 will provide much needed infrastructure funds to address infrastructure deficits across Canada.
“While there are some wins in the 2019 budget, SARM still sees some priority issues not receiving attention,” commented Orb. “Energy infrastructure remains a challenge in rural Saskatchewan and we would like to see some movement on the pipeline issue.”