The provincial government’s financial performance for the 2016-17 fiscal year is well into the green, according to a release issued by the BC Ministry of Finance today.
Audited financial statements under the new BC NDP leadership show there is an operating budget surplus of $2.7 billion, which is aligned with the fiscal update provided by the former BC Liberal government two months ago.
Over the course of the last fiscal year ending in March 2017, the government saw a $3.4 billion increase in revenue and spent $1.3 billion more than initially budgeted.
This surplus is largely a result of an unexpected $2.8 billion increase in tax revenue, including $1.5 billion from personal income tax revenue. Other tax revenue increases include $305 million from the PST, $787 million from the property transfer tax, and $212 million more in corporate income tax.
The surplus will be applied to the provincial operating debt, which follows the requirements of the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act.
During the BC Liberal government’s final budget announcement in February, they initially forecasted a surplus of $1.5 billion for the 2016-17 fiscal year and a $295-million surplus for the 2017-18 fiscal year.
The provincial government’s healthy financial performance is also a reflection of its current economic conditions.
BC has been leading the country in economic growth for a number of consecutive years, and preliminary data shows the province’s real GDP grew by an estimated 3.7% in 2016. Similar growth is expected for this year based on private sector forecasts.