Tough budget focus of Sask. spring sitting

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PST increase and job cuts real possibilities as Sask. sticks to balanced budget goal

The spring sitting of the Saskatchewan Legislature begins tomorrow with a new MLA taking his seat and all eyes looking ahead to what's expected to be one of this government's toughest budgets.

"There'll be a number of issues debated, but none so important as the budget," said Premier Brad Wall last week in Saskatoon.

"We'll have to ask ourselves the question, 'Can we get it all to balance this year?'" Wall said.

"Or do we lay out a short-term, clear plan to get it to balance so that we can maintain a strong economy, good public service and priority of getting the budget back to balance?"

The Opposition will also be focused on finances, as interim NDP leader Trent Wotherspoon told reporters on Friday in Regina.

"We have a government that's mismanaging in ways that Saskatchewan people can't imagine and that are threatening what we value," he said, rattling off, "jobs for Saskatchewan people; not supporting our classrooms; attacking health care; trying to sell off our Crown corporations."

The government has floated a number of trial balloons leading up to the budget, including unpaid days offfor government employees, cuts to revenue sharing for municipalities andlayoffs to deal with the deficit.

The premier has also said the government will unveil its plans for education reform on budget day. 

The budget will be tabled on March 22.