Thursday, December 03, 2009

The reviews are in

Eric Howe via Murray Mandryk:
One of the province's foremost economists says the Brad Wall government is suffering from the same mindset that plagued the Grant Devine government and added $10 billion in debt in 10 years.

University of Saskatchewan economist Eric Howe -- whom the Saskatchewan Party government recently praised for insisting that this province had avoided the recession -- said in an interview Wednesday that the current government has a spending problem and not a resource revenue problem caused by falling potash sales.

"If I were to ask the Finance Minister (Rod Gantefoer) one thing, it would be: 'Where did the money go?' " Howe said Wednesday, adding that the Devine government also blamed its deficits on recessions even when Saskatchewan wasn't in recession.

Just three years ago, the provincial government had only $8 million in revenue and still managed a billion-dollar surplus, Howe noted. Even with the $1.8-billion decline in potash revenue from what was projected in the March budget, the mid-year financial statement shows that the government still has $10 billion in revenues.
Describing himself to be as "fiscally conservative as anyone you'll ever meet," Howe said the Saskatchewan Party government has dug itself a "fairly deep hole" -- the largest deficit the province has seen since the Progressive Conservative government's last budget in 1991.

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