Big spending, no tax increases in Yukon budget, premier promises

Yukon's premier spoke to the Yukon Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, a day before he tables this year's budget in the legislature. It will be his government's last budget before the election later this year.

On the eve of territorial budget day, Darrell Pasloski spoke to the Yukon Chamber of Commerce

'We can't sit around and wait for commodity prices to rebound,' Pasloski told the Yukon Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. He said this year's budget will include roughly $300 million in capital spending - in line with previous years. (CBC)

Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski is promising another big-spending territorial budget this year, with new investments in technology and tourism, but no tax increases for residents or businesses.

Pasloski spoke about the budget at a Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday, a day before the budget is unveiled. It will be the last budget before the Yukon Party's mandate runs out this fall, and Pasloski said it will be largely consistent with previous years.

"We've budgeted about $300 million in capital work every single year in our mandate, and this year will be no different," Pasloski said.

"Virtually every community around the territory is going to see job-creating investments at a time when Yukoners need a kickstart."

Pasloski promised no tax increases for individuals or businesses, explicitly ruling out any sort of carbon tax. 

He also touted the territory's fiscal record, saying that if the economic trend continues in Alberta, Yukon may soon be Canada's only debt-free jurisdiction. He did not indicate how much of Yukon's budget is covered by federal transfer payments. 

Tourism, technology, and training

The premier acknowledged that the territory's fortunes typically rise and fall with commodity markets, and this year will be another lean one for mining and exploration companies.

"Trends outside of our control will make this a difficult year, and the downturn in the mineral sector has a real impact on our revenues," Pasloski said, but "we can't sit around waiting for commodity prices to rebound."

Pasloski promised new spending on infrastructure, tourism, education and training, and something to help "every single parent with the costs that come every September."

The premier also singled out the technology sector, which he said is key to diversifying Yukon's economy, and creating new jobs. Pasloski said the budget will include "the largest-ever single-year investment in I.T. and technology," increasing investments in I.T. by $3 million.

The budget will be unveiled Thursday, as the spring sitting of the Legislative Assembly gets underway.

With files from Nancy Thomson

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