Volume 94, Issue 80

Wednesday, February 14, 2001


NEWS

Presidential voting demands answers

Change of fortune for Napster

Online learning focus of new fed committee

Dyer predicts democratic China in 10 years

Students shocked by high hydro bills

Briefs

Couch potatoes get no respect: study

Students say credit is no good

School dress code could be the norm

His Royal Mintiness

Students say credit is no good

By Nicole Godin
Gazette Staff

The Saskatchewan provincial government is offering post-secondary graduates a one time credit when filing their provincial income tax claims, but student groups are skeptical of the program's benefits.

Students who have graduated from a post-secondary institution and who are working in the province, are eligible to claim a tax credit of $350, said Neil Yates, Saskatchewan's Deputy Minister of Post-Secondary Education.

Although this credit benefits graduating students in the province, Chris Shauf, the University of Regina's University Student Union president, said he doubts the tax credit will help the province keep graduates from leaving.

"It will not be a factor for [graduating students] to remain in the province," he said. "Other provinces offer more [tax and financial] incentives."

Mark Cooper, the Saskatchewan national executive representative of the Canadian Federation of Students, said he agreed with Shauf's criticism. "The tax credit doesn't address the real concerns of students," he said.

Yates said while the tax cut is a step in the right direction, it will not solve all student problems. "The intention of the government is to offer a tax credit as a reward for students who graduate and stay in the province to work. It isn't a magic bullet, just one more thing for the students to think about once they graduate."

Cooper said the tax credit program's potential value to students was erased by the government's subsequent cancellation of a six-month interest-free grace period for repayment of student loans.

Shauf said the tax credit was a step forward for government policy, but the elimination of the grace period represented multiple steps backward.

"The repeal adds to the burden of students," Cooper said. "It is another example of the government off-loading their financial burdens on the back of students."

But Yates said the rationale for removing the grace period was to put the province in step with the rest of Canada.

"The re-adjustment of the student loan program was to align the province to the federal student loan period," he said. "The deferment of loan and any accrued interest payments remains a student option."

Richard Truscott, Saskatchewan director of the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation, said he felt new tax credits can create needless complications.

"The problem with creating new tax credits is that it affects other government programs. It would be much simpler to raise the personal exemption level for students. This would help allow people to keep their income in their pockets."




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