Report from the Legislature – February 20, 2013

One of the key components of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth is our government’s commitment to balanced budgets.   Our record in this area is strong – we’ve had balanced budgets every year since 2007.   Last weeks’ release of the 2012-2013 Third Quarter Financial Report shows that we are on track to do the same thing this year, despite falling resource revenues.   Those declines are being offset in large part by the benefits of growth, including a growing tax base thanks to higher employment and record population growth.

The Third Quarter Financial Report projects that we will finish the 2012-13 fiscal year with an $8.8 million pre-transfer surplus.  That’s down from what was in the budget, mainly due to increases such as:

  • $50 million for highway improvements;
  • $40 million for the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program; up $110      million in total over budget;
  • $47 million for AgriStability, AgriInvest and Crop Insurance;
  • $10 million for snow removal and ice control on provincial      highways;
  • $4 million for increased usage of the Graduate Retention Program.

Not only does the budget continue to be balanced, we are doing this against a backdrop of no increase in government debt and with a healthy balance of more than $660 million in the Growth and Financial Security Fund.

Fiscal responsibility is an important element of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth.   Without it, achieving the plan’s ambition goals will be even more of a challenge.   If we want to grow our province to 1.2 million people by 2020, double our exports and continue to invest in programs and services important to you and your family, we must be prudent.

In the coming weeks, MLAs will return to the legislature for the spring session.  Shortly thereafter, we will announce our next budget.   Not only will it be balanced, it will further reflect our government’s commitment to ensuring the benefits of growth are used to improve the quality of life for all Saskatchewan people.

Together we will maintain the Saskatchewan Advantage and continue to move our province forward.