Provincial budget on track after first quarter

The Saskatchewan Government says the provincial budget remains on track to balance after the first quarter of the fiscal year, with a small surplus forecast to be around $26-million, which is down around $9-million from the budgeted surplus.

“In this year’s budget, we promised to deliver the right balance for Saskatchewan,” Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said in a news release on Thursday.

“At first quarter, the province remains on track to record a small surplus. This balance allows sustained investment into the priorities of Saskatchewan people—including into health care, classrooms, and support for seniors and vulnerable families, as well as into needed infrastructure for our growing province,” Harpauer also said in the release.

Revenue is forecast at $15.38-billion at first quarter, up $355.3-million, or 2.4 per cent, from budgeted revenue.

Expense is forecast at $15.35-billion, up $363.9 million, or 2.4 per cent, from budgeted expense.

Debt is down $267.5-million compared to budget, due to decreased debt for GBEs.

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer says higher than expected potash prices and federal government transfer payments should bring in more than the projected revenue, but expenses will more than absorb the increase.

She says the pension expense, a non-cash accounting adjustment added to the budget process has had a big effect on projections because they are at the mercy of interest rates. “So when the interest rates fall, our pension liability rises so that is indeed what’s happened. Which is why we are concerned with bringing the pension liability into our summary financial statements, it makes a big swing.”

Harpauer is nervous about an early frost affecting farm revenue and more international interventions like the Chinese ban on Saskatchewan Canola.


Sask. NDP worried with lack of spending in education

Concerns have been raised by the provincial NDP following Thursday’s budget release by the government.

The official opposition stated how there are no adjustments to what they say is “the reality” in Saskatchewan’s classrooms.

NDP finance critic Trent Wotherspoon said the government may suggest their budget is on track, but he believes it’s on the wrong track.

“We have a deficit in our classrooms that are at their breaking point,” explained Wotherspoon at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building on Thursday afternoon.

“Students are returning to school next week and they are simply not going to have the supports they need to thrive and grow.”

While Wotherspoon believes there isn’t enough spending in areas such as education, he discussed how the government is making the wrong decisions.

He went on to say how the Sask Party is adding over a billion dollars in debt while still claiming balance, adding that they have a “narrow view” when it comes to the budget.

“They’ve been reckless with the dollars and with the futures of Saskatchewan’s people. They couldn’t get the job done during a resource boom and left us vulnerable when things tightened up – certainly this is a time when investments have to happen.”

He mentioned how there needs to be spending into areas such as education and helping the potash sector’s valuable workers and companies in order to set the province up for the future.



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