When the provincial government tables a budget or a quarterly update like the one we saw in the last few days the reaction to its content tend to be more political than economic. So when a third party like a bank wades in with its analysis, it can be a useful perspective.
The economists at ScotiaBank did just that for us this week. They offered up an outsider’s point of view. The salient points in their assessment read like this:
First, even though this update incrementally increased the current year deficit forecast, revisions to revenue projections show a province in the midst of a strong economic recovery.
Second, Saskatchewan maintains some fiscal advantages versus other provinces.
On the income statement side, the bank said Saskatchewan’s revenues exceeded budget by 16% and the government should be on track to make its target date for balancing the books. On the balance sheet side, it noted Saskatchewan has the second-best debt-to-GDP among the provinces and that picture might actually improve given the conservative growth assumptions contained in the budget back in the spring.