The latest provincial budget news from Finance Minister Mike De Jong confirms BC is now on track for a smaller surplus than originally forecast.
In his latest quarterly update, Mr. De Jong says the budgetary surplus is projected to be $265-million — down 19-million from the original forecast early this year — when he was aiming for a $284 million surplus.
He concedes there are some mixed economic signs outside the province, noting exports for the rest of the world are down, while those to the U-S are up, and that:
Still Mr. De Jong claims the province is showing steady and stable economic growth which is forecast to be two percent this year and two point four in 2016.
In addition, housing starts to October have averaged about 31 thousand 400 annualized units — an increase of 12.6 per cent over the same period last year, but the Minister does have revenue side questions, which he will raise with his new federal counterpart in an upcoming meeting, to:
That said Mr. De Jong argues, the province is still on solid footing, because the government made a prudent plan and is sticking to it, and revenues are forecast to improve by $4 million, compared to the first quarterly report.
However, it should also be noted that compared to the same report expenses are forecast to be higher by $16 million, and Opposition New Democrat finance critic Carole James says she’s concerned the hot real estate market is propping up the government’s surplus projections which she calls worrisome and not a long term plan.
To be sure, the days of natural gas and petroleum land rights sales in this area propping up a surplus are long gone, with this year’s eleven month bonus bids total, at less than $15 million, and still on track to result in the lowest calendar year total in more than three and half decades.