Finance minister speaks at annual breakfast
The Sask. Party government isn't taking credit for the money Saskatchewan has, but it's taking credit for how the money's spent.
© Justin Crann
Saskatchewan Finance Minister Ken Krawetz
Ken Krawetz, Saskatchewan's finance minister, was in Moose Jaw Monday for his annual post-budget breakfast at Mosaic Place. The event was hosted by the Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce.
"It's a testament to the province and people of Saskatchewan. We're a growing province. An extra 20,000 people live in this province year-over-year," Krawetz told the Times-Herald Monday.
"We know that our personal income and consumption taxes are up because we have more people and more people are spending money. That's a credit to the people," he added. "What our job is as government is to look at insuring we invest that money in the right areas."
As highlighted in Krawetz's speech at the breakfast, the government has identified several key areas in the 2014 budget, including health, education and infrastructure.
"Some very significant dollars are being spent on both Crowns and municipal infrastructure," Krawetz said, and his speech highlighted some of that spending, including investments in highways and four schools — among them Sacred Heart in Moose Jaw.
He also touched on the new regional hospital.
"We're pleased. … A project the government committed nearly $79 million to … is going to be completed within a year," said Krawetz.
He was also quick to sell the success of the Graduate Retention Program, which he asserted has played a role in the province's growth.
The program is seeing an $82 million provincial investment in 2014.
"What we're seeing is (graduates) are taking advantage of that because, this year, we had to allocate $82 million and that's going to mean over 60,000 graduates are now residents in Saskatchewan," said Krawetz.
"They're employees, or they have created their own businesses here. … The population and the job opportunities are here, they're growing, and we're seeing the change."
The bigger picture, he said, is a satisfying one.
"There are things that need to be done, and overall our government is very pleased that we have been able to live within our means and, on a summary basis, have a surplus of over $71 million," said Krawetz.