Wednesday July 30, 2014

Saskatchewan premier warns of budget challenges because of resource revenue drop

SASKATOON - It appears Saskatchewan may have to do some belt-tightening to keep the books in the black.

Premier Brad Wall told delegates to the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association convention that the province's economy is strong, but there are challenges ahead in balancing the budget.

Wall said revenue from natural resources such as potash and oil is down.

"But we've seen increases in other taxation revenues. This is a good thing," the premier said Monday. "It means our economy is diversifying. We would like it to diversify away from too great a dependence on natural resource revenues."

The Saskatchewan budget is to be tabled March 20.

Saskatchewan isn't the only province with worries falling resource revenues are expected to result in a $6-billion revenue shortfall in Alberta's budget next month.

Wall acknowledged that despite the province's having to watch its cheque book, he realizes municipalities need money.

"It's important for our government to realize that municipalities are on the front line of growth. They are dealing with housing issues ... They're dealing with infrastructure challenges because there need to be bridges and roads.

"They're on the frontline and we should treat them as such."



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