B.C.'s projected deficit jumps $328 million
Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012 10:53AM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 28, 2012 8:23PM PST
B.C.’s projected deficit has grown to $1.47 billion, a $328-million increase from the first quarterly report, the province announced Wednesday.
Finance Minister Michael de Jong said the government is continuing tighten spending to address declining revenues. Cuts include a hiring freeze and decreased travel and discretionary spending.
Premier Christy Clark said the budget numbers are not positive, but she insists the government will keep its promise to table a balanced budget for next year.
De Jong said the deficit increase is mostly due to a delay in the sale of Little Mountain, a mixed-use development property in Vancouver that includes 234 social housing units.
He also blamed dropping government revenues on property taxes and falling coal prices.
De Jong said the government has been cutting spending in an attempt to mitigate a projected $241 million drop to government revenues due to declines in the natural gas market.
"We've had to make some tough choices in order to protect the B.C. economy, create jobs and make life more affordable for families. We have successfully controlled spending, currently below the average rate of growth for the last 10 years, and we did it while protecting investments in priority programs like health care and education,” de Jong said.
De Jong said B.C. is on track to re-implement the PST in April. All previous tax exemptions will be in place.
With files from the Canadian Press