The Saskatchewan government says their budget remains on track at mid-year with a projected deficit of $348.3-million, $17-million lower than originally predicted at the last budget.
The province says higher forecast revenue up over $138-million from budget has helped reduce the projected deficit.
Expenses are also forecast to be up just over $121-million from budget time. Almost 50 percent of that increase is pension expense, reflecting changes in interest rates.
Public debt is also expected to be lower come March 2019, at $19.8-billion, which is more than $250-million lower than budgeted.
“Saskatchewan’s financial and economic outlook have both improved somewhat compared to our original budget projections,” Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said in a news release on Thursday. “Our government’s plan to return the province to balance by 2019-20 remains on track,” Harpauer added.
The reduction in the projected deficit can is largely because of strong natural resource revenue, something Harpauer says is now have to be weary of with oil prices falling sharply this fall.
“We’re now in kind of uncharted territory, and we are seeing a differential that we’ve not seen for a longer period of time, so that’s concerning as we build our next budget,” Harpauer said.
More to come.