Sask. auditor's report highlights farm fuel tax exemption, school maintencance

By Sarah Mills
June 7, 2016 - 5:34pm

Saskatchewan's provincial auditor is releasing the first volume in her 2016 annual report.

This one is taking a look at the processes of various public bodies like the cancer agency, school divisions and SGI.

First, Judy Ferguson addressed a more high-profile investigation the public is waiting on, the audit into the controversial land deal made by the Global Transportation Hub.

"At this point in time we are currently making sure our findings are complete and accurate and fair," Ferguson explained. "As auditors we don't discuss interim findings as we base our conclusions on the picture as a whole."

In Tuesday's report Ferguson called for the government to review the fuel tax exemption for Saskatchewan farmers.

The program has been around for about 30 years and Ferguson says the government needs to ask some tough questions.

"The problem is, is that it has never been defined as to why we need this program," she maintained.

A review was recently done, but with new programs like agri-stability in the mix for farmers, Ferguson maintains the government should have gone further with that review.

"How does this program fit and do we still need this program? And we found they didn't ask that hard questions and we think they should."

The fuel tax exemption for farmers cost about $121 million last year.

The government responded it will be reviewing the program.

Also in the report, Ferguson is also reminding Prairie Spirit School Division to stay on top of the maintenance of its buildings.

She maintains it is important to pay now rather than pay more later.

"You know as well as I do, if you keep your fence painted and you keep that fence painted year after year, it lasts longer."

Ferguson contends this isn't a message for just one school division, but for all those who look after public buildings.

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