Provincial treasury announces $353 million budget surplus, economic growth update

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BC Legislature Victoria Parliament / Shutterstock

The provincial government has announced that it has achieved a “modest surplus” of $353 million for the last annual fiscal cycle from 2013 to 2014.

Revenues were actually $511 million lower than what was forecast in Budget Update 2013 due to a decrease in tax revenues and lower-than-anticipated earnings for self-supported crown corporations.

Even though revenues decreased, spending also increased by $360 million for healthcare and $299 for education compared to the previous fiscal cycle.

“Being fiscally vigilant has meant making some tough choices in order to get B.C. back to balanced budgets. With the support of B.C. taxpayers, we have managed to hold the line on spending and deliver a modest surplus while protecting the public services that are so important to British Columbians,” said Michael de Jong, Minister of Finance.

“We remain on track to balance the budget, but ongoing challenges in global and domestic economies mean we must continue to exercise discipline and sustain our commitment that we will not spend more money than taxpayers send to government.”

Here are some other highlights from the 2013-2014 Public Accounts:

  • Economic growth by 2.0 per cent throughout the 2013 calendar year, on par with the national average of 2.0 per cent. The sectors with the strongest gains were mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction – up 5.1 per cent. Real estate, rental and leasing services increased by 3.7 per cent while retail sales were up by 2.4 per cent. Exports of B.C. goods and services increased by 6.3 per cent due to strong demand.
  • Revenues totalled $43.728 billion this year, up $1.679 billion from the previous year due to an increase of $223 million in corporate income tax revenues and $109 million in tobacco tax revenues. Personal income tax revenues fell by $115 million. Natural resource revenues increased by 19.5 per cent or $482 million from 2012-13 to 2013-14. Petroleum, natural gas and mineral royalties were $230 million more than in 2012-13. All other sources of natural resource revenue increased by $252 million over 2012-13.
  • Expenses reached $43.375 billion in 2013-14, an increase of $174 million from 2012-13 and $561 million less than forecast in Budget Update 2013. Overall spending increased by 0.4 per cent.
  • Taxpayer-supported debt to GDP ratio was at 18.2 per cent in 2013-14, lower than the forecast of 18.4% in Budget 2013. Total provincial debt was $60.693 billion due to increased borrowing to fund capital projects and working capital requirements.
  • Credit rating remains strong with all four major credit rating agencies. Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Services and Fitch Ratings Inc. have affirmed the province’s rating at Triple-A. Dominion Bond Rating Service has affirmed the province at a rating of AA (high).
  • Capital Spending 2013-14:
    • $3.2 billion to build and upgrade schools, universities, colleges, hospitals, roads, bridges and other infrastructure, including:
      • $1 billion in provincial transportation infrastructure
      • $980 million+ to build, upgrade and modernize K-12 and post-secondary schools
      • $690 million for health facilities

 

Featured Image: Victoria B.C. Legislature via Shutterstock

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