B.C. elim­i­nates op­er­at­ing debt free for first time in 40 years

Asian Journal - - BRITISH COLUMBIA -

Vic­to­ria: British Co­lum­bia is op­er­at­ing debt-free for the first time in more than 40 years, ac­cord­ing to the Prov­ince’s Se­cond Quar­terly Re­port.

“When we formed gov­ern­ment, we com­mit­ted to do things dif­fer­ently. We promised British Columbians that we would take on the big chal­lenges in our prov­ince from the hous­ing cri­sis to child care,” said Ca­role James, Min­is­ter of Fi­nance. “To­day’s re­sults show that our plan is work­ing and that in­vest­ing in peo­ple pays div­i­dends. We’re tack­ling our prov­ince’s ma­jor chal­lenges head on and, at the same time, elim­i­nat­ing B.C.’S op­er­at­ing debt for the first time in over 40 years.” While the B.C. gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to make record-level cap­i­tal in­vest­ments in af­ford­able hous­ing, schools and hos­pi­tals, debt af­ford­abil­ity has im­proved this quar­ter and the prov­ince’s debt-to-gdp ra­tio is at its low­est point since the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

As B.C.’S real es­tate mar­ket con­tin­ues to mod­er­ate, the Prov­ince fore­casts that prop­erty trans­fer tax rev­enues will de­cline by an ad­di­tional $150 mil­lion. The de­cline in real es­tate rev­enue is off­set by higher-than-ex­pected per­sonal and cor­po­rate in­come tax rev­enue. At the end of the se­cond quar­ter, ICBC’S fore­cast de­creased by a fur­ther $206 mil­lion. Gov­ern­ment is re­spond­ing to the on­go­ing risk ICBC poses to the fis­cal plan and the mod­er­a­tion in the hous­ing mar­ket by in­creas­ing the fore­cast al­lowance by $600 mil­lion. Over­all, gov­ern­ment’s pro­jected sur­plus is $1.35 bil­lion for the 2018-19 fis­cal year. Pri­vate sec­tor economists are pre­dict­ing sta­ble eco­nomic growth and ex­pect B.C. to rank among the top of provin­cial rank­ings in 2018. B.C. is pro­jected to lead Canada in gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) growth in 2019, with 2.4% growth ex­pected.

Ca­role James

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