Sask. Budget Forecasts $2.4-Billion Deficit, Provincial Government Calls it “Pandemic Deficit”

Stressing that this is a “pandemic budget”, Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer is releasing a financial statement that shows the impact COVID-19 has had on the province’s bank book.

The budget shows Saskatchewan thanks to a  reduction in provincial revenues and additional costs related to the pandemic have resulted in a $2.4 billion deficit forecast. That is a record-high deficit surpassing the $1.2 billion deficit that was posted in 2016-17.

“This is a pandemic deficit, not a structural deficit,” Harpauer said in a release. “Prior to the pandemic, Saskatchewan was on track for balanced budgets last year and this year, and I am confident that as Saskatchewan’s economy recovers, our revenues will also recover and we will get back to balance in the coming years without having to cut programs and services.”

While the deficit is one that is staggering, the province says while significant, it is much smaller than the deficits expected in many other provinces this fiscal year.

As was announced in March before the legislature stopped sitting due to COVID-19, Harpauer had released spending estimates that are not changing.  That sees $16.1 billion dollars being spent with record investment in areas like healthcare, mental health and municipal revenue.

The budget also includes more than one billion dollars in support to fight the pandemic, for individuals, for businesses and for initiatives to help the economy recover.

“Our government is helping support people through the pandemic and investing to stimulate our economy and create jobs. Every province, every jurisdiction in the world has seen its economy and finances hit hard by the pandemic.” Harpauer stated.  “Saskatchewan is not immune, but we are better positioned than most to provide the support people need to get through the pandemic and see our economy recover and jobs return.”

The opposition NDP says this budget presents no recovery plan for the people of Saskatchewan and shows that Premier Moe has no idea how to bring about a recovery that works for people.  Leader Ryan Meili says there is nothing for seniors, nothing for childcare and no money for the safe re-opening of schools in September.

Meili adds they have heard it loud and clear from Saskatchewan people that a recovery plan is what is needed right now and is something they are pushing for.


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