Alberta still on track for $10.3B deficit, but signs point to rising economy

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EDMONTON — Alberta remains on track to rack up a $10.3-billion deficit this year, but Finance Minister Joe Ceci says there are signs pointing to a continued rebound in the economy.

The second-quarter fiscal update predicts the economy will grow by four per cent in 2017 — up from the 2.6 per cent forecast in last spring’s budget.

Ceci says more than 70,000 full-time jobs have been added in the last 1 1/2 years, most of them in the private sector.

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He also says the government is still committed to belt-tightening and has found $300 million towards its goal of saving $400 million this year through in-house savings.

But the government continues to borrow for operating and building, and this year’s debt is forecast to rise above $42 billion.

Ceci and Premier Rachel Notley have promised to get the budget balanced by 2023, but so fare haven’t offered any details on how that would be achieved.

The Canadian Press

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