March 02, 2018

Deficit Lower at Third Quarter, Fiscal Plan on Track

Saskatchewan’s finances continue to be on track in 2017-18, confirmed by a smaller deficit forecast in the province’s third quarter financial report released today.

“While we are seeing progress, there is more to accomplish,” Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said.  “Our economy is performing well and is expected to post positive growth for the first time in two years.  We will meet our fiscal challenges by controlling spending and ensuring we do what we can to help keep our economy strong.  We continue to listen to Saskatchewan people.  While staying on course we made adjustments in-year, including fulfilling Premier Moe’s commitment to exempt PST on premiums for agriculture, life and health insurance, and restoring needed funding to K-12 education and the College of Medicine.”

At third quarter, the 2017-18 deficit projection is $595 million, $101 million lower than the forecast deficit of $696 million at budget.  Revenue is projected to be $13.9 billion at third quarter, down $222 million (1.6 per cent) from budget.  The decrease largely reflects lower than expected 2016 assessments for personal and corporate income taxes, offset by increases in government business enterprise net income and other own source revenue.

Expense is projected to be $14.5 billion at third quarter, $273 million (1.8 per cent) less than the budget forecast.  A large reduction in crop insurance claims as well as inclusion of pension accrual adjustments were offset somewhat by utilization-driven spending increases for medical services, income assistance, child and family services, forest fire-fighting costs, and higher custody counts.

The budget and third quarter expense forecast now reflect pension adjustments, aligned with audited financial statements which appear in Public Accounts at year-end.

“Our fiscal plan is focused on returning the budget to balance in 2019-20,” Harpauer said.  “Our work is far from done but we are following our plan and continuing on our path of growth, to provide services, programs and infrastructure Saskatchewan people value, today and into the future.”