The Saskatchewan government is increasing the provincial sales tax (PST) to deal with a deficit forecast at $685 million as the province looks to return to a balanced budget in three years.
The PST is increasing one percentage point to six per cent effective March 23, 2017.
PST is being expanded to apply to children’s clothing, restaurant meals, insurance premiums, construction services and permanently mounted equipment in the resource sector.
The government said the budget includes a $250 million reduction in public service compensation.
Total health spending is rising 0.7 per cent to $5.63 billion. While social services and assistance spending will increase 9.1 per cent to $1.4 billion.
Education spending will decrease 1.2 per cent to $3.6 billion.
Subsidies to the Saskatchewan Transportation Company eliminated. And the bus service will stop running at the end of May.
SaskPower and SaskEnergy payments to municipalities in lieu of taxes discontinued.
The government is also ending the Saskatchewan Pastures Program. Selling off its 900 grain cars and suspending the First Home Plan for recent graduates.
Post-secondary institutions will receive less operational funding. And funding to a number of training and skills programs reduced.
The cost of cigarettes and alcohol are going up.
Most beer products are going up 6.8 per cent, coolers six per cent. Wine 5.3 per cent and four per cent for most spirits.