Kelowna News

B.C. on track with balanced budget

VICTORIA - B.C. remains on target to balance the 2013-14 budget, and government has launched public consultations on the development of Balanced Budget 2014, Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced today.

The year-end surplus for 2013-14 is now projected to be $136 million, which is down slightly by $17 million from the June Budget Update. Revenues have improved by $69 million, partly offsetting higher expenses of $86 million, primarily for statutory spending on fighting fires and flood-related emergency programs.

The forecast for taxpayer-supported debt-to-GDP has improved by $29 million, mainly due to reduced capital funding requirements as a result of project scheduling changes. As well, the taxpayer-supported debt-to-GDP ratio is now 18.3 per cent, which is one-tenth of a percentage point lower than the June Budget Update.

B.C. real GDP is forecast to grow by 1.4 per cent in 2013 and 2.2 per cent in 2014, unchanged from the June Budget Update.

Government also has released the 2014 Budget Consultation Paper, which asks British Columbians about their priorities for Balanced Budget 2014. Ongoing challenges in the global and domestic economies mean government must continue the discipline that balanced the budget, while also looking for ways to reduce taxes and costs for families, invest in programs and services, and reduce provincial debt.

The consultation paper asks British Columbians to rank their preferences for the choices that need to be made in maintaining a balanced budget, and seeks feedback on what programs and services government should continue; what it could do differently to help reduce costs; and what could be reduced or eliminated to help save money, or to free up funding for higher-priority services.

The paper is available online, or by contacting the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, which is holding public consultations around the province in September and October. For more information about the 2014 Budget Consultation Paper and how to participate in the consultation process, please visit:

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British Columbia's 2013-14 First Quarterly Report is available online at:

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