B.C.’s quarterly fiscal update shows surplus $5 billion over estimate

By Charlie Carey, Kurtis Doering and The Canadian Press

Faster-than-expected economic recovery has pushed British Columbia’s operating surplus to $5 billion more than estimated in the last quarter.

The government says the province remains “well-positioned to continue supporting people and navigating emerging global economic headwinds.”

It adds revenues have risen to $81.1 billion, with provincial expenses decreasing to $75.1 billion since the first quarter report.

Finance Minister Selina Robinson says much of the added surplus comes from higher personal and corporate income taxes, while sales tax and natural gas royalties were also higher.

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“The Second Quarterly Report shows that we have experienced a faster economic recovery than private- or public-sector economists initially forecasted. The changes we’re seeing are primarily due to updated income tax revenue data from the Canada Revenue Agency here in B.C. and across the country far beyond what was forecasted when we built our budget,” Robinson said Friday.

This will help pay for some of the new cost-of-living measures recently announced by Premier David Eby, including the one-time BC Hydro bill credit, and the BC Affordability Credit for low-to-middle-income families.

Since the summer, the province has spent approximately $2 billion on cost-of-living measures, and Robinson says the surplus will help to continue to deliver support for housing, public safety, health care, and climate change, among other things.

“No matter what is on the horizon, our government will continue to be here to support people in B.C.,” she said.

The latest unemployment numbers were also released Friday — the province has reported a near-historic low of 4.2 per cent. In the year-to-date to October, employment is up 3.4 per cent.

The next fiscal update will be released with Budget 2023 at the end of February.

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