The Pallister government’s 2017 budget puts the province on track to post deficits for at least another decade, maybe longer. But there are bureaucratic and discretionary savings to be had now – without touching health care, public schools, post-secondary education, infrastructure, or child care in the budget – that could reduce this year’s projected $779-million core government deficit to $649 million with little effort. This is by no means an exhaustive list. But it would put the province on track to balance the books within five years. We have the numbers:

Agriculture

Administration and finance spending is going up 3.5% in this department to $3.48 million. This should be reduced by $500,000. Also, the risk management, credit and income support programs are rising 2.9%. This should be scaled back $4 million to the level it was last year, including adjustments to the AgriInsurance program and a cap on the school tax rebate for farmland (both are rising).

Savings: $4.5 million

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