Saskatchewan budget at risk - mid-year update
REGINA, SK: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling for the Saskatchewan government to push harder to find savings in light of the mid-year fiscal update. The Saskatchewan government is projecting a slightly smaller deficit, but it’s completely used up its contingency fund so any unexpected costs or revenue drops will push the deficit up.
“When it comes to balancing the budget, we can’t kick the can down the road and burden our kids and grandkids with our debts,” said MacKay. “Saskatchewan needs a stronger plan to balance the budged and get back to paying down debt.”
The province is now projecting an operational deficit of $679 million, which is slightly lower than the $685 million projected in the budget. However, the budget included a contingency fund of $300 million to cover expected costs, such as forest fires or drought, or drops in revenues due to issues such as commodity price fluctuations. This means any further unexpected costs or revenue drops in the second half of the year will increase the deficit.
“The Saskatchewan government promised to save $250 million by trimming compensation for government employees by 3.5 per cent, but that simply hasn’t happened and that’s not a good sign,” said Todd MacKay. “Now the government has already burned through it’s entire contingency fund and there’s still half of the fiscal year left to go so Saskatchewanians should be worried the deficit could be pushed in the wrong direction again.”