Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he’s willing to run a deficit in order to keep up with his big spending promises.
The 2020-21 budget was expected to be released on Wednesday, which the premier previously stated would be balanced.
However, following “an economic impact that we don’t see very often” as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Moe says the budget will be delayed and he can no longer guarantee the it will be without a deficit.
“Revenues are very, very difficult to predict, not just in Saskatchewan, but across Canada and I’d say around the world,” Moe said.
He added that the 2020-21 revenues are no longer indicative to the province’s economic forecast — at least for the next few months.
While the province’s revenue is expected to change, Moe says spending won’t.
“It is important for us to move forward with our investment, our investment intentions and our spending plan so we can provide that certainty to those who are providing services,” Moe said.
On Wednesday, the province will release their budget estimates and spending plan, which Moe says includes record levels of spending.
“You will see an investment in not only the services provided in our community, but record investment in infrastructure. If you look at the months ahead…we’re ensuring we have resources in place to support the people in this province. What you’ll see is that support for the people and families in Saskatchewan,” Moe said.
The 2020-21 budget won’t be tabled for several months. Moe said his full intention is to have the budget ready in the summer or fall to “actually have a budget to operate on for at least part of the year.”
“I think it’s important to do that and go through the process that we do each and every budget year,” Moe said.
“Given with what we are faced with this spring with coronavirus and the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada and around the world and how that’s affecting us in the province of Saskatchewan, I think it’s fair for us to get our spending plans out so we can provide that certainty to our partners across the province.”
He said if there’s more that’s required, “the people of this province can be rest assured the investment will be there.”
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