Budget On Track at First Quarter
Saskatchewan’s 2018-19 Budget remains on track, with a deficit of $306 million projected at first quarter, $59 million less than the original budget projection of $365 million.
“Three months into the fiscal year, we’re seeing a growing economy and an improving fiscal picture,” Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said. “Our government continues to manage spending carefully, invest in priorities for Saskatchewan people, shift from our reliance on volatile resource revenue and help keep our economy strong.”
The lower deficit is attributable to a higher revenue forecast—up $172 million from budget due to higher net income from Government Business Enterprises and higher non-renewable resource revenue. This is partially offset by a $112 million increase in expense due to higher health-care utilization, more spending for child and family services, higher-than-expected firefighting costs, and an increase in pension expense reflecting changes in interest rates and actuarial assumptions.
Saskatchewan’s economy is showing signs of strengthening. The value of oil production increased eight per cent through the first four months of 2018, over the same period last year. Potash production increased 11.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2018 over the same period last year. Total manufacturing sales have increased by 11.1 per cent so far this year, and international exports are up by four per cent. The population is growing, reaching 1,171,240 on April 1, 2018, a year-over-year increase of 11,691.
“Our economy grew for the first time in two years last year and while it is early, we continue to see some positive signals this year. In terms of our fiscal plan there is still work to do, but we are on course to return the province to balance by 2019-20,” Harpauer said.