The Saskatchewan government provided a mid-year update on their budget yesterday that's now projecting a deficit.
Originally the province had projected for a $1 billion surplus in its 2023-24 fiscal year, however, they're now forecasting a deficit of $250.5 million.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is condemning the province's fiscal update citing the lack of willingness to adjust spending is worrisome.
"It kind of shows that they're not really committed to trying to balance a budget or save taxpayers any money," Gage Haubrich, the prairie director for the CFT, said. "They couldn't find savings anywhere. Out of all the departments in this fiscal update only one saw a spending decrease, so the government is obviously not trying very hard, and they need to turn that around if they actually want taxpayers to respect them."
While the province is expecting revenue to grow an extra $35.2 million from their budget numbers, it's the $1.3 billion in expenses that have changed the overall projection from black ink to red ink.
They're attributing the majority of increased spending to crop insurance claims due to drought with the agriculture portfolio costing $853 million more than expected. Potash revenue has also decreased significantly with prices dropping by 28.6 per cent, which is the main reason for non-renewable resource revenue falling by $717.8 million.
"Revenue from natural resources has never been consistent, it has always been up and down," he said. "If you're better prepared for that, they'd be able to balance that budget.
"The government is saying that a large part of this new deficit is because of crop insurance costs but they should have found saving somewhere else. Those farmers who received crop insurance because they were not making enough money, they're not going to go to Mexico anytime soon or buy a brand-new truck. The government needs to understand, that they're spending a lot of money on this, but they have to find savings somewhere else, they can't just rack up the credit card bill."
One area that the CFT thinks would help move the budget line in the right direction is cuts to general government spending.
"Aside from crop insurance they're spending $450 million more in other departments including $45 million in what they call general government spending," he said. "If a government is looking to be taken seriously, I think they could find a little bit of $45 million of savings in general government spending."
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