Despite Sask. Party spin, province in the red again
The Sask. Party government put Saskatchewan in the red for the third year in a row with a deficit and increased provincial debt in 2011-12.
The deficit of $105 million was reported by Tuesday’s Public Accounts summary for the year. That is a deeper deficit than the $13 million shortfall posted last year.
The Sask. Party government took $298 million out of the Growth and Financial Security Fund – also known as the “rainy day” fund – to pay off a shortfall in the General Revenue Fund as well as a last-minute emergency transfer of $125 million from SaskPower, despite the fact that the Crown corporation can ill-afford it with escalating debt.
“Draining the rainy day fund and stripping our Crowns during apparent good times is not a smart growth strategy,” said NDP finance critic Trent Wotherspoon, who added that unbudgeted flooding costs were covered, in large part, by the federal government.
Debt increased to $8.5 billion under the Sask. Party, up from $7.95 billion in 2009.
“We wish deficit and debt weren’t the case,” said Wotherspoon. “Saskatchewan people deserve the full, true picture of our financial state and they deserve a government that spends for the benefit of people, not politicians.”
Wotherspoon also noted that the current year’s budget already looks problematic, since its overly-rosy revenue assumptions already appear to be incorrect.
“The Sask. Party government seems determined to make it four deficit years in a row,” in Wotherspoon. “Instead of making smart spending choices to benefit middle class people, they’re spending on advertising to spin their budget as much better than it is.”
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