Saskatchewan mid-year report expects ‘significant surplus’

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Saskatchewan mid-year report expects ‘significant surplus’
The mid-year report said revenue was 13.7 per cent higher than forecasted due to rising prices in potash and oil, as well as higher taxation revenue – Nov 30, 2022

The government of Saskatchewan released the mid-year report for the 2022-23 year, noting that it anticipates a “significant surplus.”

“A surplus of $1.1 billion is forecast at mid-year, up $1.6 billion from budget,” the report read.

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It said revenue was 13.7 per cent higher than forecasted due to rising prices in potash and oil, as well as higher taxation revenue.

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer noted that the prices of both oil and potash have softened in the market, and that provinces across the country underestimated numbers from both corporate and personal income taxes.

Expenses are forecasted to be up $795 million this year from the budget due to $450 million being used for the affordability cheques, and $204.3 million due to expected increases from Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Indemnities and AgriStability benefits.

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Revenue forecasted in this year’s budget sat around $17.1 billion, with the mid-year forecast aiming for $19.5 billion, compared with the $18.1 billion actuals from the 2021-22 year.

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Expenses were originally budgeted at $17.6 billion for 2022-23, with a mid-year forecast set at $18.4 billion, compared with actual expenses for last year sitting at $19.6 billion.

The province said it is forecasting public debt to be $2.1 billion lower than originally budgeted, and that net debt will be $2.4 billion lower.

The Sask. Party also said employment in the province was up 3.7 per cent compared with the same time in 2021.

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan forecasts $1.1 billion in surplus: Finance minister'
Saskatchewan forecasts $1.1 billion in surplus: Finance minister

“Our province’s strong economy and resources that belong to all Saskatchewan people are contributing to the province’s bottom line,” Harpauer said.

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“Revenue is forecast to be up from budget, largely the result of high potash and oil prices, as well as higher taxation revenue which reflects solid economic growth.”

Harpauer added that she expects Saskatchewan’s economy to lead the provinces in growth for 2022 and 2023.

She said the government is using the surplus to address debt, but said other uses could be for capital projects or investments.

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Official Opposition finance critic Trent Wotherspoon said we need to put the financial update in the context of the reality of the lives of Saskatchewan people.

“The reality is the Saskatchewan people are facing the worst cost-of-living challenge that the people have faced in over a generation,” Wotherspoon said.

He added it’s creating incredible stress on people, and the Saskatchewan government is leaving people with horrible hardship.

“They’re sitting on a whole lot of cash, windfall revenues, high revenues; meanwhile, Saskatchewan people are facing these hardships and we see no new measures to provide relief in a meaningful way to people and families and workers in an ongoing way.”

He said the government has made things worse, hiking taxes through an affordability crisis and not implementing long-term relief.

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“We see a government that’s really failing Saskatchewan people.”

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