The letter was prepared by NDP Finance Critic, Trent Wotherspoon and was forwarded to me on his behalf.
Wall Government's Budgetary Meltdown the Result of Fiscal Incompetence
The Wall government has created a financial mess, but their friends in the corporate news media are busily trying to cover for them. Editorial pages and columnists suggest the government 'had no way of knowing' that its budget forecasts were so faulty, while others argue the situation 'still isn't too bad'. It's time for both the government and its cheerleaders in the corporate media to face reality.
The facts are these. The Wall government forecast $1.9 Billion in potash taxes and royalties this year to balance its budget; a few months later that number is off by 67% or $1.3 Billion! The government based its budget surplus on a forecast of 2.1% economic growth for this year; a few months later they've adjusted that to .6%! The result is that the government had to bleed our public utilities for $480 Million in dividends, and our so-called 'rainy day fund' for another $399 Million, just to maintain the façade of a balanced budget.
These problems are of the Wall government's own making. When its budget was introduced last March, the NDP pointed out the potash revenue projections and economic growth forecasts were out of whack with reality, and private sector forecasts. We urged the government to get its runaway spending under control. Government spending today is 32% higher than in the last NDP budget in 2007.
We urged the government to reconsider its fantasyland budget plan. It scoffed at our warnings and blindly pushed on. Today, Saskatchewan people are being asked to pay the price for the Wall government's fiscal incompetence.
It is worth noting the government created this mess during a time of unprecedented resource wealth for our province. They inherited a booming economy and record resource revenues from the NDP, but during this period they have drained our so-called 'rainy day' fund from more than $2 Billion to only $800 Million. A competent government would have grown the 'rainy day' fund during the boom times, but this crew has blown more than half of our cash reserves at the height of the boom!
Now the Children's Hospital has been delayed another year or more, and school repair projects have been put on hold so the Wall government can continue to pretend that it knows how to balance the budget. Shame on them and shame on the corporate news media for defending this kind of fiscal incompetence!
Trent Wotherspoon, MLA
New Democrat Official Opposition