The day after delivering a bleak report on the state of B.C.'s economy, finance minister Colin Hansen announced Thursday that his government plans to run a deficit -- until the year 2013.

With natural gas revenues down, the forestry industry struggling, and corporate and personal tax revenues plummeting by $1 billion in the last three months alone -- Hansen says a four-year deficit is in the cards.

But the decision to run a deficit does not indicate an end to the service cuts announced over the past few weeks.

"Some of the discretionary stuff that we have been able to do in the past we're simply not going to be able to do in the next difficult years," Hansen said.

Premier Gordon Campbell has always hated red ink. In February 2009, three months before the provincial election, Campbell stated his position on deficits plainly.

"I hate deficits. I think they take away from future generations," he said. "We are not going to run a deficit in the province of British Columbia."

Once again, the NDP seized on the opportunity to score political points Thursday by highlighting the grievances many B.C. voters are feeling.

"This is a long list of economy on the fly by this government," opposition leader Carole James said. "It's very clear to me that they don't have a plan to address the challenges we are facing."

B.C. law currently allows governments to run a deficit for a maximum of two years -- a hurdle the Liberals will have to leap before proceeding with their plans.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty