The government believes its deficit plan remains on track as the final numbers for the end of the fiscal year are released.
The actual figures for the 2017-18 fiscal year show a significant drop in the deficit. The province finished the year with revenue of $14.02 billion and total expense of $14.32 billion—leaving a deficit of $303 million.
“Our government’s plan to return the province to balance by 2019-20 remains on track,” Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said. “Our economy is growing and the province’s fiscal position continues to improve, with an actual deficit of $303 million, $393 million less than what was projected in the 2017-18 budget.”
Revenue was down $146 million, or one per cent, from the budget. The decrease was primarily due to lower-than-expected tax revenue and transfers from the federal government.
Government expenses totalled $489 million, or 3.3 per cent lower than projected at budget. That’s thanks in a large part due to a better-than-expected crop which resulted in fewer agriculture insurance claims.
Nearly three-quarters of government spending in the 2017-18 year was on education, health and social services assistance. In addition, more than $3.2 billion was invested in building highways, schools, and healthcare facilities, along with Crown infrastructure for power, energy and water needs.
Harpauer said that while the plan to return to an annual balance is on course, there is more work to do.
“Each fiscal year is unique and while we are on the right path, unanticipated challenges or at times good fortune—like the better-than-anticipated crop year—can occur,” Harpauer said.
“To ensure we remain on track, our government will continue to manage spending carefully, invest in priorities for Saskatchewan people, shift from our reliance on volatile resource revenue and help to keep our economy strong.”