Carole James, Finance Minister
Carole James, Finance Minister

Victoria: British Columbia’s first quarter results show the Province is delivering on its commitments to the people of British Columbia, while maintaining a balanced budget.

“The first quarter update shows that B.C. remains on track with stable economic growth and an improved bottom line. Not only are we cleaning up the fiscal messes we’ve inherited, but we’re continuing to invest in people and deliver a balanced budget,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “The former government’s decision to rely on a speculative real estate market was unsustainable and irresponsible, leaving people without affordable homes and businesses without workers. The first quarter results show that our focused, balanced approach is working.”

B.C.’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to rank among the top provinces again in 2018 and 2019. The forecast reflects stable growth of 2.2% in 2018 and 1.8% in 2019, with medium-term growth expected to average 2% annually through 2022. The government’s economic forecast is prudent compared to the private sector’s outlook, recognizing potential downside risks such as uncertainty around the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The first quarter outlook for 2018-19 forecasts a surplus of $669 million, which is $450 million higher than projected in Budget 2018. This increase is mostly due to revenue improvements from increased tax revenue resulting from improved 2017 tax assessments, with partially offsetting expense changes primarily related to wildfire management.

In 2018-19, the taxpayer-supported debt-to-GDP ratio projection has improved to 15.3%, and the taxpayer supported debt-to-revenue ratio is now forecast to improve to 82%.