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The Saskatchewan division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees slammed the provincial budget delivered today for implementing the tax reform proposals of the Vicq report.

“These tax cuts serve up a huge windfall for the wealthy, but throw only crumbs to the rest of us,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “The budget enacts the regressive, flatter income tax structure recommended by the Vicq report despite widespread opposition from working people, social justice groups and others.”

Graham said he was pleased that the budget did not expand the provincial sales tax to childrens clothing, utility bills, and restaurant meals, but he said that low and middle-income earners will still be hit hard by the expansion of the PST to repairs, used goods, and other items.

“Eric Cline had the option of establishing a more progressive tax system than the federal structure, but he chose instead to capitulate to an aggressive business lobby that manufactured a phony brain drain crisis to line their own pockets.”

Graham was pleased to see the budget provide extra funds for health care, education, municipal infrastructure renewal and additional occupational health and safety officers, but he said too much emphasis was placed on tax cuts.

“We needed a major reinvestment in social programs, but these tax cuts will forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue,” he said.

“There is an urgent need to address the health care crisis, boost funding to K-12 education, lower tuition fees at universities, fix crumbling municipal infrastructure, and increase funds for under-paid workers in community-based organizations.”

CUPE represents over 22,000 members in Saskatchewan who work at health care facilities, school boards, municipalities, universities, libraries and community-based organizations.

For more information, contact:
Tom Graham 229-8171

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