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Saskatchewan budget needs a better plan to balance

Author: Todd MacKay 2021/04/06

REGINA, SK: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the Saskatchewan government to strengthen its plan to tackle the deficit as the 2021-22 budget doesn’t project a surplus until 2026-27.

“It’s true the pandemic is creating costs for government, but every family and business has found ways to save money and the province needs to do that as well,” said Todd MacKay, the CTF’s Prairie Director. “Spending is going up in 10 out of the 11 major budget categories.

“It’s good to see the Saskatchewan government set a target to balance the budget, but it needs to work harder to hit that target earlier.”

The Saskatchewan budget now projects a deficit of $2.6 billion. The province’s taxpayer supported debt is projected to hit $17.9 billion this year and soar to $25.2 billion by 2025. This year, Saskatchewan will spend $755 million just to cover the interest charges on the debt.

Saskatchewan plans to balance the budget in 2026-27. Saskatchewan’s plan is significantly better than Alberta’s plan which has no timeline to balance the budget and Quebec’s budget which plans to balance the books in 2027-28. But Saskatchewan is still behind Nova Scotia and its plan to balance the budget in 2024-25.

“Tackling the deficit won’t be easy, but it won’t get easier if we procrastinate,” said MacKay. “We’re already spending three quarters of a billion dollars on interest payments, and we need to get a handle on spending before interest costs chew up even more budget.”