Thursday, May 22, 2008

Saskatchewan Filthy Rich

Excess oil money is giving Saskatchewan an excellent problem. Since budget forecasts called for oil to be $85 a barrel, the present price of $134 is dandy. It means an additional $800 million for the government this fiscal year, and even more for the future, since the budget forecast oil prices to drop to $65 by 2011. Since then, some analysts have projected oil could go as high as $200 per barrel within two years. Even if prices stay at $134 until the next election, the current government could have $4 billion extra simply because of low commodity estimates, including that for potash. So where will this money go?

Premier Brad Wall has asked MLAs to canvass their constituents this summer on what to do with the windfall revenues in both the short-term to deal with rising costs and in the long-term.

The government is increasingly making noises about a significant reduction of the $6.6-billion provincial debt, with its annual servicing costs that exceed $500 million.

But there are also significant -- and potentially costly -- items that are high on the Sask. Party's political agenda.

Former MLAs Bob Pringle and Ted Merriman will deliver recommendations on affordable housing this year; Rosetown-Elrose MLA Jim Reiter is preparing a report on education property tax reform for the fall; crop insurance is under review; and a new municipal revenue-sharing formula has been promised.

1 comment:

countrytown said...

I cannot believe they even need to think about this!! Paying down the debt should be the only option. Any surplus should go into paying down the debt, always!!

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