Potash slump hurting Sask.'s bottom line, finance minister says

Potash prices are lower than expected, so Saskatchewan will have to take $135 million from its rainy day fund to maintain a surplus, Finance Minister Ken Krawetz says.

Province to draw down rain day fund by $135M to stay in black

Potash prices are lower than expected, so Saskatchewan will have to take $135 million from its rainy day fund to maintain a surplus, Finance Minister Ken Krawetz says.

A revenue shortfall for the fiscal year that began April 1, 2013, was part of the third-quarter financial update that Krawetz provided Friday.

The report shows revenues are down $144.2 million from the spring budget, while expenses are up $48.4 million.

If the latest course correction holds, the province will finish the year with a general revenue fund surplus of $7.2 million. 

Potash royalties are a major source of revenue for the province, but the amount depends on the price of the mineral, which has been in the doldrums for the past year.

Meanwhile, NDP finance critic Trent Wotherspoon is calling the government's third quarter update as "nonsense," adding that the use of the rainy day fund conceals debt problems.

He also points to higher Crown utility prices and says the government is passing that on to residents.