Just ahead of the long weekend, the provincial government released the year-end financials for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The public accounts show the deficit posted at the end of the fiscal year of $1.47 billion was an improvement of $1.14 billion from the initial budget.
The increase was due to higher-than-expected revenues, primarily from oil and potash prices being much higher than accounted for in the budget. An increase in taxation was also a factor in the higher revenues.
There were some higher-than-expected expenses, however, including agriculture spending which was nearly three times higher than budgeted.
"Saskatchewan's improvement through the fiscal year and our government's strong financial plan has the province back on track," Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said. "Our public debt at year-end was $529 million lower than budgeted, as government needed to borrow less, largely due to a lower deficit."
Revenues were up by $3.66 billion from the budgeted amount. $1.59 billion of this was from non-renewable resource revenue. Another $964.26 million in additional revenue was from higher than forecast corporate and individual income tax, as well as sales and fuel taxes.
In terms of higher-than-expected expenditures, agriculture was by far the highest, thanks to the drought conditions across much of the province last year. The agriculture budget was up by 263.3 percent from budget to $3.19 billion. Much of this was for crop insurance indemnities and relief payments for livestock producers due to the drought.
Health care also saw higher than budgeted expenses in the 2021-22 fiscal year. It was up by $348 million, or just over five percent.