B.C. deficit tops $1.1 billion

Higher than forecast, despite cutting $668 million in spending. Finance Minister says lower natural gas revenues the big factor

Finance Minister Mike de Jong

VICTORIA – The B.C. government finished the last fiscal year with a deficit of $1.15 billion, according to the audited public accounts released Tuesday.

That’s up from $968 million that was projected as the deficit last year, an indication of the difficult task facing the government to balance the budget in the current year.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the government reduced its spending $668 million in the fiscal year ended March, compared to what was budgeted. But resource revenues, mostly natural gas, were down $1.1 billion from the 2012 budget.

Health care spending was up $585 million, education spending rose $300 million and social services spending went up $50 million compared to 2011-12. Total program spending increase 2.6 per cent, higher than the target of two per cent de Jong has set for this year.

Deficits and continued spending on capital projects pushed the province’s total debt up $5.6 billion to $55.8 billion.

“We’ve seen the largest debt increase in the history of British Columbia,” NDP finance critic Mike Farnworth said. “And this is a government that ran around during the election campaign saying it’s going to be debt-free B.C.”

 

Just Posted

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

First court date in Chilliwack for man accused of murdering Belgian tourist

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance Wednesday

Another successful year for Chilliwack’s ‘We Got Your Back’ backpack program

Sponsored by local businesses, program stocks backpacks with school supplies for students in need

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Hospice to B.C. council race candidate dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Tilray Inc sees $10-billion in market cap go up in smoke

Tilray’s share price closed at $123 US on Friday, a decline from its intraday peak of nearly $300 US earlier in the week

Breast density to be included in mammogram results across B.C.

The information is crucial in proactively reducing the risk of breast cancer, doctors say

Canada to boost support for riskier forms of renewable energy: minister

A $30-million contribution to a $117-million tidal project hopes to harness the immense power of the Bay of Fundy

B.C. watching Trans Mountain review, George Heyman says

Court decision stalling pipeline ‘validates’ environmental concerns

New concert series focuses on Fraser Valley musicians

Valley Music Co.’s Listen Local Concert Series begins Sept. 28 at High Street mall

Browns beat streak, win first NFL game in 635 days

Baker Mayfield erased any doubts about why the Browns selected him with the No. 1 overall pick

Most Read