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Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer will present the province's budget


REGINA — Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer will present the province's budget today.

The government and Opposition NDP have agreed to meet for a 14-day sitting starting June 15, but only some members will be returning to the legislature.

Ten MLAs from the governing Saskatchewan Party and five from the NDP will be permitted in the assembly to comply with physical distancing made necessary by the COVID-19 health crisis.

The NDP has been pressing the government to present the budget, since it only released spending estimates in March — on the same day the legislature was closed over COVID-19 concerns.

Premier Scott Moe previously said the government had no legislative business to attend to other than passing a budget ahead of a provincial election slated for the fall, but a news release last month said the government may conduct other business, time permitting.

The final vote on the budget will take place on July 2 with the house sitting until July 3.

In the spending estimates released in March, the government promised $200 million more for health care and $1.3 billion for emergencies. But there were no revenue forecasts, with the government explaining that dollar amounts initially budgeted are no longer reliable in light of the pandemic and shutdown of services.

Harpauer warned at the time that the government, which had promised a balanced budget with a small surplus, may now run a deficit. She said the government didn't intend to raise taxes, though.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2020.

The Canadian Press