NDP says another misleading un-audited statement is unacceptable, calls for Jan. 31 deadline
The NDP is demanding that the Sask. Party table a full financial report by the end of the month, allowing an audit by the independent Provincial Auditor so voters can deal with reality heading into an election.
The Sask. Party is running a deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars. They are refusing to put out a budget, and say they’ll withhold a financial update – at least until it’s too late for the auditor to verify it.
“The Sask. Party needs to stop deceiving Saskatchewan people and open the books and reveal the true state of our finances, so all of us can see the truth about the hole the Sask. Party has put us in,” said Wotherspoon.
“The finance minister said the Sask. Party is considering ‘draconian’ cuts, raising taxes or running deficits – but they won’t tell us which they would do if re-elected. That’s completely outrageous. We need to find out how deep their budget hole is and what exactly they’ve cut so far. Voters deserve to go into an election with their eyes wide open.”
Wotherspoon said the Sask. Party’s recent cuts and selloffs are a red flag for voters that the current government’s priorities are backward.
“They're still wasting far too much of our money on their misplaced priorities. They refuse to cut back the astronomically high use of private consultants. They refuse to cut a penny from the massive and toxic Lean program embedded in hospitals and now being introduced in schools. They even refuse to give up Mr. Wall’s travel scouts. Instead, they’re cutting health care, cutting education, and foolishly selling off money-making public assets like liquor stores. What next?”
Wotherspoon said there’s a growing frustration throughout the province that taxpayers have been put in this situation.
“We had a decade-long, multi-billion dollar resource boom,” said Wotherspoon. “The Sask. Party spent it all faster than it came in. They racked up extra debt. They failed to replace infrastructure. They even drained the rainy day fund during incredibly sunny economic times. Now that it’s raining, that money should be there to stabilize the province’s finances and help us get back on more stable economic footing.
“The NDP has dealt with conservative party deficits before – and we’re prepared to do it again,” said Wotherspoon. “But we can’t let these guys get away with continuing to waste money and keeping the deficit, and their plans, a secret until after the election. Saskatchewan families can’t afford a reckless agenda of cuts and privatization – not while Sask. Party waste continues.”
At mid-year, the government reported a deficit of $262 million. The actual deficit is undoubtedly deeper -- the Sask. Party pegged resource revenues too high to pretend they had additional income, and decided to count 15 months of Crown revenues instead of 12 on this fiscal year's financial statement.