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Sask. government gives financial update
Published Wednesday, November 29, 2017 7:00PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 29, 2017 7:07PM CST
The last provincial budget saw some major cuts, leaving the province to make some tough decisions to make up for lost revenue. The government is now giving an update on its financial situation.
The Finance Minister has said things are back on track, but Saskatchewan is projected to end its fiscal year $679 million short.
"Our budget is on track. We haven't lost ground in this budget,” said Donna Harpauer, Minister of Finance.
The budget has gained a little, shaving $6 million off the projected deficit. However, the government is giving up hope of a 3.5% civil service salary cut for now.
It means a $250 million salary saving for 2017 has been crossed off the books.
"A $300 million contingency was a bit of a shell game because if they honestly expected that $250 million in wage cutbacks to be realized in this fiscal year, that just shows that they are not in touch with reality,” said Cathy Sproule, NDP MLA.
It’s an issue that should be settled at the bargaining table according to Bob Bymoen, of the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union, "When we go talk to our members, not only do they say they don't want the 3.5%, it's getting to point now where they are actually looking forward to some sort of a small wage increase."
The government has said it's on track for a balanced budget in 2019. Three Saskatchewan Party leadership candidates have placed it in writing, signing a Taxpayer's Association Pledge.
"You know we took an awful lot of photos today. Hopefully down the road if one of these folks becomes premier, we'll be able to put up a billboard saying promise kept," said Todd MacKay of the Saskatchewan Taxpayers Federation.
With the contingency funds no longer available, any additional expense or revenue shortfall may have to be met by the equivalent in cost savings.