Saskatchewan sees small surplus, higher potash revenue
By Rod Nickel
(Reuters) - The booming Western Canadian province of Saskatchewan, flush with potash and crude oil revenues, expects a slim budget surplus in the 2012-13 fiscal year, continuing a nearly two-decade string of balanced books, the government said on Wednesday.
The surplus comes as most Canadian provinces grapple with deficits as they recover from slower economic growth. Saskatchewan's oil-rich neighbor, Alberta, for instance, forecasts a C$886 million ($892.20 million) budget deficit for 2012-13.
The right-of-center Saskatchewan Party government of Premier Brad Wall, however, presides over an economy that is booming as development ramps up in the Bakken oil and gas play and as fertilizer companies, including Potash Corp and Mosaic Co, spend billions on expanding potash mines.
The province's population in 2011 had its biggest growth in 58 years, to nearly 1.1 million people, as workers moved in from other provinces.
"People are coming here because they recognize that Saskatchewan is now a place of opportunity," said Finance Minister Ken Krawetz. "Even in a time of global uncertainty, our government's focus will remain squarely on enhancing and preserving Saskatchewan's quality of life through prudent fiscal management."
Saskatchewan forecast a C$95 million surplus in its C$11.2-billion 2012-13 budget. It expects the 2011-12 year, which ends March 31, to finish C$55.8 million in the black.
After accounting for government-owned corporations, the 2012-13 surplus is forecast at C$14.8 million.
OIL, POTASH ROYALTIES TO RISE Continued...