Finance critic Trent Wotherspoon says the surcharge would apply only when WTI oil prices exceed US$90 per barrel and when potash prices exceed $700 per K20 tonne.
Looking at the cost of living that is affecting people, Wotherspoon says they are ready to work with the government but they need immediate action on affordability.
“Right now folks are facing a buck-70 at the pumps. They’re facing food prices that are skyhigh. They’re coming through a challenging time through the pandemic that affected many people’s work and livelihoods, so we think returning those dollars directly to Saskatchewan people by way of a cost of living dividend would make the most sense and to do that immediately.”
Wotherspoon also repeated the NDP’s call to scrap the new expansion in the PST which affects things like gym memberships, concerts and Saskatchewan Roughriders games.
The opposition sees the one per cent increase to the royalty revenues as adding an additional $250 million to the province. Wotherspoon sees $125 million could be returned to residents as rebate cheques with each person getting $105. The remaining $125 million would be used to get rid of the new PST and contribute to health-care and energy efficiency building retrofits.
Wotherspoon explains further why the government needs to do more.
“People expect their government to step up and respond to the challenges they face. And these times are extraordinary. They don’t expect them to kick them when they are already down. $125 million dollars directly back to Saskatchewan people would make a difference for so many.”
Premier Scott Moe is rejecting the idea saying an increase in tax on the business community would “kill jobs.” He notes the government is considering a change to the minimum wage in Saskatchewan. The changes are said to be “substantial,” according to Moe.
The minimum wage is currently $11.81 per hour which is the lowest among all provinces and territories.
Moe indicated more details would be made available in the coming days.
The province is also providing $100 rebate cheques through SGI to address cost of living concerns, a plan which the NDP had also advocated.