Sask. budget boosts ag spending


Saskatchewan’s second pandemic budget contains extra money for agriculture.

Finance minister Donna Harpauer delivered the 2021-22 budget April 6.

It includes agriculture estimates of $386.97 million, up from last year’s estimate of $363.9 million.

The bulk of that increase is for business risk management spending, which is up about $20 million to cover off the removal of the AgriStability reference margin limit and $2.7 million for AgriInvest.

There is $2 million more for the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program and $2.5 million more for irrigation development.

Spending estimates are down for land management and programs.

Overall, the government plans to run a $2.6 billion deficit while increasing spending on health, public safety, education and support for the vulnerable. The plan includes $1.5 billion in COVID-19 supports and $3.1 billion in infrastructure spending as part of its $17.1 billion budget.

Revenue is expected to be $14.5 billion.

New revenue measures include a $150-per-year fee for the approximately 403 electric vehicle owners who don’t pay gas tax.

There is also a tax applied to vaping products and heat-not-burn tobacco products.

Harpauer said the budget fulfills 14 election promises.