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Saskatchewan to unveil spending plan for next fiscal year in muted budget

REGINA — The Saskatchewan government is set to take the unusual step of announcing its spending plans for the next fiscal year without showing any revenue.

Premier Scott Moe says the economic uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 means it's too difficult to predict how much money will come in.

The government says revenue forecasts that were initially in its 2020-21 budget are no longer accurate and it will likely be later this year before they are included. 

The spread of the novel coronavirus has resulted in the Saskatchewan Party government changing course on what would have otherwise been a pre-election budget that Moe had been promising would be balanced.

Moe says he cannot commit to that now without knowing what revenues will be and is willing to run a deficit to keep up with required spending.

The government says spending will increase in most areas, including on the Saskatchewan Health Authority, as it deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.

There has been talk of closing the legislature to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Saskatchewan's Opposition NDP is calling for the building to close and wanted Moe to delay the budget by at least two weeks to factor in the drop in oil prices.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 18, 2020


The Canadian Press

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