News Release - July 26, 2006
FIRST QUARTER RESULTS: SMALLER SURPLUS PROJECTED
In its First Quarter Report, the Province has revised its Budget estimates to reflect improvements in resource revenues and increased spending on priority areas including Agriculture and Highways.
The First Quarter Report forecasts an overall revenue improvement of $73 million for the year. This takes into account stronger performance in the oil and gas sector, which is largely offset by reduced potash royalties due to slower than anticipated sales.
Spending is forecast to increase $112 million over Budget, with the revised forecast for 2006 at $7.81 billion.
"The stable forecast and revised program estimates provides us with the opportunity to announce full funding for the 2006 Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program at this time," Thomson said.
Changes to budget estimates include:
• Agriculture - $71.2 million over Budget, due to fully funding CAIS ($60 million) and for the Saskatchewan Unseeded Acreage Payment Program ($18.2 million), offset by a $7 million reduced expense in crop insurance premiums.
• Highways - $15.1 million over Budget to repair flood-related damage and for public safety repairs.
• Corrections and Public Safety - $8.6 million over Budget, primarily due to additional costs for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 Provincial Disaster Assistance Program, as well as the use of contingency bed space to meet higher adult inmate counts.
• Environment - $10 million over Budget, to expense the cost of a downed plane.
• First Nations and Métis Relations - $11 million over Budget, primarily related to higher-than-anticipated payments to the First Nations Trust and Community Development Corporations, reflecting higher SIGA net income in the last two years.
• The spending increases are offset by a $2.9 million forecast decrease in Teachers' Pensions and Benefits, due to lower-than-anticipated requirements for the provincial contributions to the Teachers' Extended Health Plan.
As a result of these changes, the forecast surplus is reduced by $39 million to $62.5 million.
Government debt is forecast to be $7.3 billion at year-end, an increase of $58.4 million from Budget, mainly reflecting the reduction in the GRF surplus and an increase in capital expenditures. Total debt (which includes Crown Corporation debt) is forecast to be $10.9 billion at year-end, a decrease of $45.5 million from Budget.
For More Information, Contact: