Highlights: Sales tax up, bus company cut in Saskatchewan deficit budget

Sales tax up in Saskatchewan deficit budget

REGINA — The Saskatchewan government tabled a budget Wednesday which forecasts a $685-million deficit this year and includes a plan to balance the books in three years. Here are the highlights:

— Provincial sales tax increases to six per cent from five per cent.

— Tobacco and alcohol taxes going up.

— Operational funding for all post-secondary institutions cut by five per cent.

— Income and corporate tax cuts to be phased in.

— Saskatchewan Transportation Company which provides bus service in the province, including to remote areas, will be shut down.

— Funding for hearing aids and funeral services for low-income residents being cut.  

— Emergency departments in Regina and Saskatoon to get a $12-million boost to address wait times.

— Funding for libraries in Regina and Saskatoon eliminated; funding for seven regional library systems cut in half. 

— $750,000 to expand HPV vaccination program to boys.

— $1.4 million and 13 full-time positions added to boost oversight of oil and gas industry.

— Long-term care fees increase for about 50 per cent of residents â€”about 8,500 people.

The Canadian Press