The provincial budget is now just a week away, but not all of what comes out on March 22 will be a surprise.
The province is working to plug a $1.2 billion deficit by announcing not only wage cuts for MLAs and staff but also a 3.5 per cent reduction in compensation for the public sector.
Most recently government privatized cleaning services and other cost-cutting measures in order to reduce the deficit.
But it is now clear the deficit won’t be reduced in just one year as promised in the election campaign.
Speaking at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) annual convention in Saskatoon, Wall told delegates a balanced budget will take longer to achieve than first thought.
“We would still like to meet that target, but it might take longer than one fiscal year to balance the budget without causing shock to the economy or unduly and irrevocably harming public service in the province,” Wall said.
That means taxpayers are likely to experience much more than short-term pain.
Wall hinted to the SARM delegates that much remains on the table. There is the possibility of the PST increase or PST being applied to a greater number of items.
As well, the government may end existing tax exemptions earning millions more in revenues.
There is also the concern from those in health, education and social services about what potential cuts mean for programs and jobs.
The speculation continues until the budget is revealed in the afternoon of March 22.