FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Financial experts in the Peace Region have good things to say about the provincial budget that was released by B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong on Tuesday.
Kim Drever, Regional Tax Leader with MNP in Grande Prairie says that overall, residents here in Northeast B.C. should be encouraged by most of the fiscal year 2017/2018 budget’s details. As a whole, Drever says that B.C. is in an enviable position currently, since the government is forecasting surpluses, albeit small ones, for the next three years. She adds that B.C. is currently the only province in Canada that has a AAA credit rating with all major international agencies. Drever says that businesses are also more likely to invest in the province due to the fact that our tax rates for small and medium-sized businesses are lower than they are in Alberta.
One point of note in the budget that Drever noticed was that the provincial debt is forecast to rise despite passing balanced budgets, rising from $66 billion to $77 billion in the next three years. Drever noted however that the provincial debt-to-GDP ratio will stay the same, meaning that the economy is forecast to grow.
Drever says that the provincial government is forecasting that revenues from Natural Gas royalties will increase between now and 2019/2020. She explained that those forecast numbers mean that more natural gas extraction will be occurring, concurrent with rising natural gas prices.