July 19, 2018

Saskatchewan's Finances are Continuing to Improve

Deficit Drops by $393 Million in 2017-18 Public Accounts Compared to 2017-18 Budget

The final results for the 2017-18 fiscal year show a significant drop in Saskatchewan’s deficit.  The province finished the year with revenue of $14.02 billion and total expense of $14.32 billion—leaving a deficit of $303 million.

“Our government’s plan to return the province to balance by 2019-20 remains on track,” Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said.  “Our economy is growing and the province’s fiscal position continues to improve, with an actual deficit of $303 million in 2017-18, $393 million less than what was projected in the 2017-18 Budget.”

Revenue in 2017-18 was down $146 million, or one per cent, from the budget.  The decrease was primarily due to lower-than-expected tax revenue and transfers from the federal government, offset by higher net income from government business enterprises, other own-source revenue and non-renewable resource revenue.

Expense in 2017-18 was $489 million, or 3.3 per cent, lower than projected at budget.  The largest contributor to this improvement was lower-than-anticipated expense for agriculture insurance claims, resulting from a better-than-expected crop year.

“Throughout 2017-18, our government invested in the priorities of Saskatchewan people,” Harpauer said.  “Health, education, social services and assistance continued to see major investment in the programs and services Saskatchewan people value.  Nearly three-quarters of all government spending was in these three areas combined in 2017-18.  In addition, more than $3.2 billion was invested in 2017-18 in building highways, schools, and health care facilities, along with Crown investments in needed power, energy, water, and telecommunications infrastructure—key priorities for a growing province.”

Harpauer said that while the plan to return to an annual balance is on course, there is more work to do.

“Each fiscal year is unique and while we are on the right path, unanticipated challenges or at times good fortune—like the better-than-anticipated crop year—can occur,” Harpauer said.  “To ensure we remain on track, our government will continue to manage spending carefully, invest in priorities for Saskatchewan people, shift from our reliance on volatile resource revenue and help to keep our economy strong.”