The Ministry of the Economy has introduced a new oil and gas well levy in the budget. The new levy eliminates 10 different licensing fees which account for more than 20,000 transactions each year. Industry will be required by the levy to pay 90% of regulatory oversight costs. The levy will support same day approval for routine horizontal well applications, enhanced air pollutant monitoring, and increased oversight of contaminated sites.
The levies will have an impact on the Weyburn area, as oil and gas are integral to the area economy. Weyburn Chamber of Commerce General Manager Jeff Richards spoke with the newsroom after the budget was delivered:
Infrastructure and capital spending were key parts of the budget this year. The Crown Corporations will be spending $2 billion on their infrastructure. This includes $1.2 billion for SaskPower, mostly for electricity generation and distribution and transmission projects. SaskTel had previously announced $355 million for expanding wireless coverage and high-bandwidth projects, while SaskEnergy has $300 million mainly dedicated to expand pipeline and compressor capacity.
There will be $405 million for provincial highway construction and upgrades. This includes money for twinning Highway 16 between Saskatoon and Clavet, and the start of pre-construction work on twinning Highways 6 and 39 between Bienfait and Regina.
Jennifer LaCharite in the Discover Weyburn newsroom spoke with Highways & Infrastructure Minister Don McMorris, and led off by asking him what pre-construction is:
Not everyone was thrilled with everything that was in the Saskatchewan budget, however. NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon talked with Discover Weyburn's Steven Wilson to discuss what he thought were shortcomings in the budget: