- The province’s finances are in better shape then they were originally projected to be when the budget came out earlier this year.
Numbers released Thursday morning showed the 2018-19 budget had a deficit of $348.3 million, $17 million less than what was originally projected. Higher forecast revenue helped to reduce the projected deficit. The increase in revenue is due to higher than anticipated resource revenue, higher net income from government business enterprises, federal transfers, and other sources of revenue.
The expenses were up $121.1 million from the budget, in part due to pension expenses. Higher than average expenses for child and family services, health services and forest fire operations were also contributing factors.
The price of oil was another key factor in the numbers Thursday. The government was anticipating the price of oil to average out at $58 a barrel over the course of the year, but the first seven months of the budget saw the price closer to $68 a barrel. With the drop in recent weeks, however, there are some concerns, including how the lower resource revenues could impact the 2019-2020 budget.
“While we are on course, there is still work to do,” said Finance Minister Donna Harpauer. “We continue to manage spending carefully, invest in priorities for Saskatchewan people, shift from our reliance on volatile resource revenue and help keep our economy strong."