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The Saskatchewan division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees gave mixed marks to the provincial budget unveiled today.

We applaud the government for increasing funding for health care, education and municipal revenue sharing grants despite the difficult economic times the province is facing, said Tom Graham, president of CUPE Saskatchewan.

However, Graham was disappointed that the government chose to eliminate 350 civil service jobs, cut back the prescription drug plan and increase user fees for long-term care homes. We are deeply concerned that the government may be setting the stage for the privatization of long-term care homes, said Graham.

CUPE Saskatchewan expressed disappointment that the budget only set aside $3.9 million for community-based organizations. Graham wanted to see a minimum of $34 million in multi-year funding for the sector to eliminate wage and benefit inequities with comparable jobs in the public service.

Politics is about making choices. The government could have saved millions of dollars by opting to halt the last phase of the three-year income tax cut plan, which is mainly benefiting the rich. The $260 million in revenues the government will now be losing each year could have been put to better use by investing in community-based organizations, health care, urban and rural communities, our schools and universities, and other vital public services.

CUPE represents over 23,000 members in Saskatchewan who work at health care facilities, municipalities, school boards, universities, libraries and community-based organizations.

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For more information contact:
Tom Graham, 306 229-8171