Formal budget being cancelled by SK government with expense statement being released instead

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer plans to proceed with a scaled-back budget release tomorrow, which is the scheduled date for the provincial budget.

Harpauer will table the 2020-21 Budget estimates, which are the government spending plans for the upcoming year for all areas of government, including health, education, social services, public protection and capital spending.

“The budget estimates will contain spending increases in most areas, including a significant increase in health funding,” Harpauer said.  “It includes a significant lift to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, which funds the doctors, nurses and other health professionals who are on the front line of the fight against COVID-19.

“It is absolutely vital that we move ahead with those spending increases now as we confront the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Harpauer said she will not be tabling revenue forecasts tomorrow.

“The events of the past few weeks have resulted in our revenue forecasts no longer being accurate,” Harpauer said.  “Given the rapidly changing situation, accurate revenue forecasts are not possible right now.

“However, we need to move forward with the government’s spending plan for the upcoming year, so we are taking the unusual step of tabling spending estimates without the revenue forecasts.  Once the situation has become more stable, we will release a financial update including revenue forecasts.”

If the estimates are not passed and the Assembly stops sitting, the government will still be able to fund government operations using special warrants based on the spending plans outlined in the budget estimates.

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