New­found­land deficit up on lower oil roy­al­ties

Times Colonist - - Business -

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — New­found­land and Labrador will tar­get big spend­ing in health, ed­u­ca­tion and by the Crown cor­po­ra­tion over­see­ing the bloated Muskrat Falls project as its deficit mounts.

The prov­ince is now ex­pect­ing a deficit of $852 mil­lion this fis­cal year, up from $778 mil­lion pre­dicted in last April’s bud­get. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Tom Os­borne said Tues­day the in­creased short­fall is largely due to lower off­shore oil roy­al­ties. They dropped $147 mil­lion from bud­get pro­jec­tions thanks to de­flated prices and higher ex­change rates.

A Con­fer­ence Board of Canada econ­o­mist re­cently de­scribed over­spend­ing in the prov­ince as “a tick­ing time bomb.”

Still, Os­borne said it’s en­cour­ag­ing the gov­ern­ing Liberals are close to rev­enue pro­jec­tions and on tar­get to cut costs.

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