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

Heat warning rescinded for Central and South Okanagan

Kelowna - It’s expected to cool off a bit this week

Lighting strikes spark 38 fires in B.C., 13 in the region

13 new fires in the Okanagan have been reported from the BC Wildfire Service Tuesday night.

Penticton fire offers tips to stay safe during wildfire season

Penticton Fire Chief Larry Watkinson reminds all residents that wildfire season is here

City keeps pushing forward on downtown issues

The City of Penticton isn’t letting up on their campaign to reduce street issues

Update: Lightning sparks blaze above Summerland

Firefighters are battling the small fire from the area that occurred Tuesday shortly after 7 p.m.

Firefighters respond to roadside brush fire

Fire next to Highway 97 being brought under control.

Search continues for missing North Okanagan-Shuswap women

Search planned for July 21-22 to start behind Splatsin Community Centre in Enderby

Lightning strikes West Kelowna condo

Fire crews were called to a building on Carrington Road Tuesday night

Lightning sparks wildfires in Vernon

Tuesday night storm causes wildfire in BX and residential fire in East Hill

Crash closes Highway 5A in both directions

A collision has shut down Highway 5A about 22 kilometres south of the junction with Highway 97C

UPDATE: Smoke rising from Okanagan Mountain Park hills

Lightning may have sparked a fire in the hills across from Peachland

UPDATE: Crews battle wildfire near Big White

Joe Rich Fire Department responding alongside Big White Fire Department and provincial crews.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Most Read