Thanks to a diverse and growing economy, Saskatchewan remains on track to balance its books in 2013-14, with surpluses projected for both the General Revenue Fund (GRF) and Summary Financial Statements.
“Balanced budgets are a key part of our government’s Plan for Growth,” Finance Minister Ken Krawetz said. “Managing spending is an essential part of our commitment to fiscal responsibility. We’re confident the Saskatchewan economy is well positioned to continue to withstand some expected volatility in the natural resource sector over the remainder of this fiscal year.”
The Mid-Year Report, released today, projects the province will finish the year with a $22.8 million pre-transfer surplus in the GRF and $677.7 million in the Growth and Financial Security Fund. The Summary Financial Statements are projected to show a surplus of $467.0 million at year end, up $317.2 million from budget.
Economic growth is now forecast to increase to 3.6 per cent in 2013, mainly due to record crop production. Saskatchewan continues to experience record population growth, has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and leads the country in employment growth and growth in average weekly earnings.
Volatility in potash revenue was offset by increased oil revenue, resulting in a GRF revenue decrease of $33.9 million from budget.
Expenses are forecast to be $8.1 million higher than budget. Disaster assistance spending as well as increased support for the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program and other disability initiatives are the main areas of higher spending than projected at budget. Beyond those needed increases, the Mid-Year Report shows that most other ministries and agencies are holding the line or reducing costs, identifying $75.6 million in expense reductions.
“In other words, increased spending is almost entirely for those affected by flooding and for persons with disabilities,” Krawetz said. “Maintaining a balanced budget in 2013-14 and beyond remains a priority but our government will always be there for people in need.”