B.C. Finance Minister Carole James announced the projected surplus for the 2018-19 fiscal year is higher than expected.
James presented the province’s second-quarter report in Victoria Monday morning, saying the projected surplus of $1.35 billion is $681 million more than what was forecast in the first quarter.
James also said the provincial debt is projected to be $66.7 billion by the end of the fiscal year in March, $1.8 billion below the first quarter forecast and B.C.’s direct operating debt has been eliminated.
The financial report says the better-than-anticipated outlook comes despite a $150 million decline in property transfer tax revenue and an ICBC net revenue drop of $206 million.
James says the real estate revenue decline is offset by higher-than-expected personal and corporate income tax revenue, with economic growth anticipated to lead the country at 2.4 per cent.
The province has also spent $572 million on fighting forest fires this year, and emergency management costs climbed $160 million over last February’s budget forecast.
The second-quarter report says risks to the economic outlook include global trade uncertainty including tariffs and the softwood lumber dispute, slower economic activity, particularly in Asia that could cause less demand for B.C. exports and uncertainty in the exchange rate and commodity price.