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If you’re shopping for a used car or new appliance, get ready to pay extra in Saskatchewan.
The provincial budget unveiled Tuesday outlines a number of changes, some hitting specific shoppers in the wallet.
On the flipside, highly-touted changes are coming that will impact families — including free hearing tests for babies, new individual funding for children with autism and more teachers or educational support staff in schools.
After hearing about the need for more police in rural areas, the province is going to deliver some new officers — at least, on the roads.
But that’s not all — here’s a look at the top five things to know in the 2018 Sask. budget:
PST applied to used cars, new appliances
Starting April 11, the six per cent PST will be applied on used vehicles.
That’s a $600 cost on a $10,000 car purchase, which will be paid when you register with SGI.
There are exceptions: any sale under $5,000 won’t be taxed. A sale between family members — including grandparents and grandchildren — will also be tax free.
While you could once buy an appliance with an energy star sticker without paying PST, you can’t come Wednesday.
The province is cancelling the exemption, used an incentive, as the majority of appliances now carry the sticker.
The half-point cut in personal income tax promised for this year is on hold. So is indexing your income tax to the rate of inflation.
More teachers coming to schools
Funding is up $30 million as per Premier Scott Moe’s promise in the leadership campaign.
It’ll allow for hiring a total of 400 more teachers or support staff such as educational assistants.
Big boost for health spending
All babies in Saskatchewan will now be screened for hearing loss
A long promised $2.4 million to help autistic children is also in this budget. It’ll mean $4,000 per child under the age of six to get individual assistance.
As the province with the highest rate of HIV in Canada, Saskatchewan will now provide universal full coverage of HIV drugs.
Health funding rises nearly 2.5 per cent to $5.77 billion.
Cuts to Government and Crown Corps
There won’t be as many jobs with Crowns or executive government, and people who already work there may find vacant positions stay that way.
The province plans to save $35 million in each of the next two years in those areas — through attrition, managing vacancies that arise and cutting back on overtime.
It’s also given up on last year’s plan to save $250 million through forced cuts in the public sector.
More police in rural areas
No surprise rural crime and safety is a priority in Saskatchewan.
Last fall, the province added 258 armed officers as part of the Protection and Response Team in rural areas.
This budget, there’s $4.9 million in new money from SGI to fund 30 more police officers — for traffic safety.
Coincidentally, the government expects to make $600,000 more this year from traffic fines.
What’s that surcharge?
Last year, cities and towns were vexed when they lost money in last year’s budget from the grants-in-lieu program.
Instead of property tax — as one level of government can’t tax a higher level of government — Crown corporations pay out grants to municipalities.
After last year’s backlash, there was a review. Now, SaskPower and SaskEnergy will pay grants for things like office buildings.
You might already pay a SaskEnergy surcharge on your bill each month that goes to the local government. It’s three per cent.
But now, it’s going up to five per cent — around $18 extra a year.
People who live in communities where they don’t pay the surcharge could start shelling out — unless the community opts out.
It would mean an extra $45 a year on average.
The province says this this way, it will be fair. These changes are supposed to bring 22 million more to municipalities.
– Daniella Ponticelli is the Senior Web Editor for 650 CKOM and 980 CJME.