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Saskatchewan fuel tax increase shot down

SASKATOON, Sask. -- The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association's (SUMA's) proposal to increase fuel taxes wa...

SASKATOON, Sask. — The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association’s (SUMA’s) proposal to increase fuel taxes was narrowly defeated at its annual convention Feb. 4.

The one-cent-per-litre fuel tax hike was defeated by a count of 169-164, mainly due to rural representatives that didn’t like the proposed distribution of the extra revenue. Representatives of smaller communities argued they would be subsidizing the larger cities if the plan were approved.

Big River Mayor, Digger Pond, said that his community would only see a return of $15,000 under the proposal.

“It puts pressure on rural Saskatchewan to put money into the coffers of the cities,” he says.

Bradwell Mayor, Ken Hartz agreed, saying “In places with a population of 200 or less, it seems to us to be little gain and a lot of pain.”

The proposed fuel tax increase would generate about $21 million, with about 75 per cent of that going to the province’s larger cities. Small towns and villages would divvy up only $6 million. SUMA says those figures mirror the province’s population split.

Proponents of the fuel tax increase said it would be invaluable in addressing infrastructure improvements.

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