The Saskatchewan government laid out their budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year, and they are looking at a deficit of 434-million dollars, in large part to the free-fall of non-renewable resource revenue, such as oil, gas, and potash, which totaled one billion dollars.
The budget, tabled by Finance Minister Kevin Doherty, also shows the SaskParty government is expected to spend 14.5-billion dollars, while bringing in 14-billion; Doherty says this is manageable and believes the books will be balanced by next year.
Doherty went on to say he doesn’t want to shock the provincial economy by making extensive cuts to health care, social services, and education.
Speaking of cuts, the government is doing that to funding for urban parks and slashing an active families tax credit. In addition the cost of prescription drugs for kids and seniors will go up.
Other statistics include an increase of 20-million dollars to help cut surgical wait times, and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency receiving a boost, over 167-million to be exact, which is up 10-million from last year, to cover the cost of 15 new drugs that were approved.
Opposition NDP Finance Critic Cathy Sproule says the government depleted its savings by draining 2-billion dollars from the province’s rainy day savings account.