The Saskatchewan government is now reporting a $250.5 million deficit in its mid-year report, down from a $1.3 billion surplus announced during the budget.

That's a result of increasing costs to the province from a number of sources.

Chief among those is agriculture expenses, forecast to be $853 million higher than budgeted, primarily due to increased crop insurance claims thanks to a drought.

Other factors are the non-cash pension expense in the Saskatchewan Teachers Superannuation Plan and the Public Service Superannuation Plan, along with the forecast expense for wildfire response and evacuations both of which were higher than budget estimates and reported in the first quarter.

Estevan MLA Lori Carr says that the reason they're falling short of a surplus can be chalked up to those factors.

"So if you take any one of those items ... which are out of our control, assume it did not happen, we would have actually balanced in the mid-year report. So as you can see from the budget that was formed, it was formed with the best information we had at the time. But sometimes there are circumstances out of our control, the process used for developing budgets is sound and we will continue to use that process into the future."

One bit of good news for the government is that revenue didn't fall, with a $35.2 million or 0.2 per cent increase from the budget.

"The increase in some of those revenues actually goes to an increase from taxation or about two years behind in income that comes in. So that's just some of that money that flows and it all just depends on how many people are working, how our business is doing," said Carr, "So we make the best guess we can at the time and this year it was a little bit higher than we estimated."

Even with a deficit now being reported, the provincial government won't be changing gears anytime soon.

"Everything that we have within the budget right now is going to stay as it is. We still plan on paying off the billion dollars in operating deficit that we have," said Carr, "So we'll continue to go down that road."

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