BC Budget 2017: $295 million surplus with zero operating debt on the horizon

Feb 21 2017, 10:08 pm

BC Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced the provincial budget for 2017 on Tuesday. Of course, given the fact you’re reading this, you probably know that already.

For the fifth time running, this was a balanced budget, with a projected surplus of $295 million, de Jong told the legislature.

“By any measure we are the envy of the nation,” said de Jong. “I believe this is the first time since the early 1960s we have led the country in economic growth two years running.”

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But what about the nitty gritty? For all you finance nerds out there, here are the figures:

Debt and interest

  • By the end of 2019/20 direct operating debt is forecast to be $1.1. billion, 90% lower than in 2013/14, when it was $10.2 billion
  • Efforts to reduce the direct operating debt should save more than $500 million in interest costs
  • BC could have zero operating debt by 2020/21, for the first time in 45 years
  • The debt-to-GDP ratio is forecast to drop to 16% in 2019/20, down from 17.9% in 2013/14

Taxpayer-supported spending

  • The province’s three-year plan includes $13.7 billion in taxpayer-supported spending, the highest level ever, according to the province, split as follows:
    • 32.8% in transportation
    • 18.9% in post-secondary institutions
    • 14.6% in education
    • 13.9% other including BC Housing
    • 19.7% in health

Economic growth forecasts

  • The BC Economic Forecast Council projects real growth of 2.3% in 2017, 2.2% in 2018, and 2.1% on average between 2019 and 2021
  • In a bid to be cautious, the province projects economic growth of 2.1% in 2017, 2.1% in 2018, and 2% between 2019 and 2021

Forecasted revenue

  • Total government revenue is forecast to be $50.8 billion for 2017/18, $51.2 billion for 2018/19, and $52 billion for 2019/20

Forecasted expenses

  • Total government expenses are forecast to be $50.2 billion in 2017/18, $50.7 billion in 2018/19, and 51.6 billion in 2019/20

Forecasted surpluses

  • The government is projecting surpluses of $295 million for 2017/18, $244 million for 2018/19, and $223 million for 2019/20
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