REGINA, SK - The majority of Saskatchewan residents want the provincial government to increase royalty rates on our natural resources and raise the minimum wage so more people benefit from the economic boom, according to a new Viewpoints Research poll.
The poll, commissioned by CUPE Saskatchewan, surveyed 602 residents across the province from December 6-16, 2010. The margin of error is ± 4 per cent.
According to the poll, four out of five respondents (79.1 per cent) believe resource companies should pay higher royalty rates if they move head office jobs out of the province, while 66.9 per cent think the province should raise the royalty rates on potash, oil and other natural resources so Saskatchewan people receive more benefits.
“The survey demonstrates the majority of residents believe resource companies need to contribute more to Saskatchewan’s economy,” says CUPE Saskatchewan president Tom Graham, adding there is little public support for massive tax breaks for these highly profitable companies.
Graham says the City of Regina’s decision in December, 2010, to give Mosaic Potash Corporation a $1.6 million tax break over five years is a case in point. “You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone with a pulse who thinks this is a wise use of taxpayers’ money.”
However, he says, “the poll found strong public support for giving low-income people a break.” For example, 71.9 per cent of respondents want the government to raise the minimum wage, which has been stuck at $9.25 for two years.
Graham says the government also needs to fulfill a 2007 government promise to index the minimum wage to the cost-of-living. “We don’t need more studies. We need a commitment to act so 2011 is a little ‘richer’ for everyone.”
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