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

Driver of stolen vehicle caught after fleeing accident scene in Chemainus

Section of Chemainus Road closed until suspect located and eventually taken into custody

Crofton Alternate Water Supply Project eliminates boil water advisories

System takes away the need to utilize Crofton Lake in the event of a disruption to mill source

First-ever Cowichan Bluegrass Festival a hit at Lake Cowichan

With great music, great weather, and great ambience at Laketown Ranch: everyone loved it

Rats edge Arrows in playoff preview

Postseason begins for Cowichan at home on Saturday

Mary Lowther column: Without the bees, there are no crops

Wikipedia explains that the mason bee was named for the way it builds clay nests to lay its eggs.

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

Coming up in Cowichan: Spend Father’s Day fishing, or head to the BC Forest Discovery Centre

Deadline coming to register for class reunion The Cowichan Secondary Class of… Continue reading

B.C.-born Carey Price brings young fan to tears at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

Licence issue delays boozing while cruising on BC Ferries

Planned June launch for alcohol sales delayed

Nanaimo a prime market for new plane, Air Canada says

Vice-president previews Airbus A220, praises Nanaimo’s growth in passenger numbers

B.C. school mourns after 13-year-old killed by fallen tree on field trip

Teenager died after being struck and pinned by tree while on a field trip near Sooke

RCMP deploys special unit in Comox Valley to combat organized crime

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit spends four days targeting organized crime in Courtenay

B.C. temporarily halts resource development to protect caribou

The caribou population in northeastern B.C. has dwindled over the last two decades

Most Read