The projected deficit announced in the province's spring budget remains almost the same half way through the fiscal year.
Finance Minister Donna Harpauer says the budget remains on track. The deficit is now projected at $6-million less that the original forecast and is now at $679-million. In the spring, the Premier had asked government employees to consider a 3.5 per cent rollback in their next contract negotiations, but Harpauer says that isn't expect to come to fruition in this fiscal year, although it's not off the table. The $300-million planned contingency fund has been used up with the lower revenue projection and no compensation savings from contract negotiations. Revenue is projected to be down $53-million from budget but on the other side, expenses are also down about $9-million. Harpauer says Saskatchewan's real GDP is forecast to grow by 1.5 per cent this year and 2.2 per cent next year. Add to that, rising oil prices and strong oilfield investment, will make for a stronger 2018.
Opposition critic Cathy Sproule contends that the operating deficit only remains the same because the province is using the contingency fund and that isn't sustainable.