B.C.’s finance minister hints at deficit for Budget 2023

B.C.'s finance minister hints at deficit for Budget 2023
Katrine Conroy, B.C.'s finance minister and MLA for Kootenay West, hinted at a deficit budget for the upcoming fiscal year at a news conference at Ruth King Elementary in Langford on Feb. 27, 2023.

The B.C. government will be releasing its budget for the 2023 fiscal year on Feb. 28, and the finance minister has hinted the upcoming budget may be a deficit.

Katrine Conroy, speaking to reporters in a Q&A ahead of Tuesday’s budget announcement, said although this year the government had a surplus, deficits are expected for years ahead.

“Well, even though we have a surplus this year, we are thinking that we will probably have some deficits in the coming years,” Conroy said. “This is a bit of an anomaly, this year’s surplus, and we’ll be announcing tomorrow the direction we’re moving in, we know that things probably aren’t going to be quite as rosy as they are this year.”

The federal government just made an announcement of a health care funding agreement it is in the works of signing with the provinces, but Conroy says this money will not be included in the budget.

“We have not accounted for anything in the budget for tomorrow, because we don’t have anything. We want to make sure what we have is it’s for certain but we will be adjusting the budget as the negotiations carry on,” Conroy said.

“I’ll be happy to talk more about what we’re going to be bringing forward in the budget tomorrow when it comes to health care, but just so people know that healthcare is a priority for us, and we’ve been very clear on that some of the announcements already made by the Premier have shown that we are very committed to health care and I look forward to talking more about it tomorrow.”

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Conroy also forecast investments in food programs for school children, as the announcement was made at Ruth King Elementary after students had been served lunch.

“Programs like this are so vital and important to the health and well-being of students, that’s why we want to continue to invest in programs like this through budget 2023,” Conroy said.

“We hear from parents and school staff that food programs make a meaningful difference for students and their families, and that’s what budget 2023 will continue to do to help ease pressure and ensure we are looking out for people.”

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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