Saskatoon mayor Charlie Clark stopped in for his weekly chat with 650 CKOM’s Brent Loucks Tuesday morning — and like many conversations around the province, a lot of the talk was devoted to the upcoming provincial and federal budgets.
Both Ottawa and the province will be putting out their 2017-18 budgets Wednesday.
Clark said the provincial budget is the most important of the two as far as the city is concerned.
“I would say, on a day-to-day basis, it’s the provincial budget that has a bigger impact. But they are both important to the city,” he said.
Clark said the province’s decisions on health, education and social services can have impacts that are borne by the city’s budget.
On top of that, the mayor the money that flows directly into Saskatoon’s coffers as part of the city’s share of PST revenues.He also pointed to funding for things like the Meewasin Valley Authority, which maintains the city’s river pathway system,
Clark expressed some worry that tough cuts could be coming as the province tries to tame a deficit pegged at $1.2 billion.
“Certainly, from a city standpoint, there’s concerns about Meewasin and about our revenue-sharing agreement and our ability to keep having the resources to invest in keeping the city going,” he said.
Premier Brad Wall released a Facebook video Monday saying the province would look to bring in more money from consumption taxes, as opposed to relying on volatile revenue from rescource royalties.
Clark told Loucks that, just like the rest of us, he won’t know what the budget really means for Saskatoon until Finance Minister Kevin Doherty delivers his speech in the Legislature at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
‘We’re all speculating on what that means: a ‘move on consumption taxes.’ But if it means a change to the PST regime altogether, that could have an impact,” Clark said.
As to the federal budget, Clark said the biggest impact for the city comes with what Ottawa decides to do on infrastructure.
Clark said the Trudeau government’s decision to run billions of dollars in deficits has meant more cash for Saskatoon.
“This year, because of federal investment, we’ve dramatically increased the amount of money we’re able to use to fix-up old water lines around the city, and transit,” he said.
With no way of knowing whether the feds will be as generous this year, and a provincial government facing the need to make tough decisions, Clark said there was really only one thing to do:
“Got to stay positive, we’ve got to keep this city and our province moving in a positive direction,” he said.
Tune in to 650 CKOM on the radio, online and on social media for all the latest reaction and analysis on the provincial and federal budgets starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday.