Government racks up debt, raids rainy day fund

The government updated this year’s budget today by showing it will pile on $1.125 billion in Crown debt alone in the 2013-14 budget year and raid the rainy day savings account, despite operating during a strong economy.

“First, this is the dishonest set of books that failed an audit, so we can’t trust what the government has chosen to release and what it has chosen to conceal here,” said NDP Deputy Leader and Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon. “What we can pull from these nonsense numbers is that this government is not managing the finances well.

“This government is adding more than a billion dollars onto the debt this year and ripping money out of the rainy day fund to pretend everything is OK. And when the government screws up its finances, Saskatchewan families know they have to pick up the tab.”

Wotherspoon said it’s obvious the government is already turning up the financial heat on Saskatchewan people. Families are already paying more every month because every single Crown utility has a hike either in place or in the works for this year, and the premier is considering raising education taxes in the budget to cover holes in the bridges and overpasses department. The government is sharing less revenue with municipalities this year, thanks to a change it made to the revenue-sharing formula. That means homeowners in many cities will pay higher taxes or cope with service cuts.

“Saskatchewan families are doing their part for the economy,” said Wotherspoon. “They’re working harder than ever, they’re investing in their communities and they’re thinking long-term. But, this government is dropping the ball. They didn’t save. They didn’t build or invest – and now they’re staring down financial problems during a period of unprecedented economic strength this government was lucky to have, and that’s inexcusable.

Government revenues are about 50 per cent higher than 2007, with about $4 billion in extra revenue flowing in to – and out of – government’s coffers each year.

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus