The 2017-18 Saskatchewan Budget remains on track at first quarter, with no change in the bottom-line forecast.
“The Saskatchewan economy is performing well so far, and for the first time in two years is projected to post positive growth,” Finance Minister Kevin Doherty said. “We have more to accomplish, but at first quarter we are meeting our fiscal challenge by controlling spending and shifting away from over-reliance on volatile resource revenue.”
At first quarter, a deficit of $684.7 million is forecast, unchanged from budget. Revenue at first quarter is forecast to increase $42 million (0.3 per cent) from budget, while total expense is forecast to increase by about $82 million (0.6 per cent).
As planned, part of the budget’s $300 million contingency—about $40 million—is being used to offset expense pressures. A further $125 million of the contingency is being used to offset compensation savings that, because of the time required for negotiations to continue, will not be achieved this fiscal year.
“The reason we built a contingency into this year’s budget was to help address in-year pressures,” Doherty said. “We still have work to do to control government’s overall costs, including savings we are working hard to achieve in total compensation expense.”
Most key indicators for Saskatchewan’s economy have been positive so far in 2017, including:
the third-highest growth among Canadian provinces in manufacturing sales;
the third-highest growth in average weekly earnings;
the third-highest growth in population; and
the second-highest growth in new motor-vehicle sales.
“Private sector forecasters have recognized strength in Saskatchewan’s economic performance and have increased real GDP growth forecasts for 2017 from an average of 1.7 per cent at budget to 2.1 per cent,” Doherty said. “At first quarter, our government remains on track with our fiscal plan to return Saskatchewan’s budget to balance in three years, by 2019-20.
“We need to follow and achieve our plan to continue on our path of growth, and to provide the services, programs and infrastructure Saskatchewan people value and need – today and into the future.”