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B.C. fiscal report shows optimistic forecast despite challenges

B.C.’s updated financial report shows $1.4 billion more in revenue despite a slowing global economy and high-interest rates.

“People’s budgets have been squeezed by global inflation and high interest rates are making the already high cost of buying or renting a home even more expensive,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Finance. “While other governments cut the services people rely on when times are tough, we have built a strong fiscal foundation and will continue to support people.”

B.C. government officials said the $1.4 billion in revenue is driven by improved 2022 personal and corporate income tax results and $358 million of anticipated federal wildfire recovery funding.

As a result, the province is projecting a $5.6 billion operating deficit this year.

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Provincial officials said the plan was impacted by recorded spending to protect people from the devastating wildfire season and volatile natural gas prices.

“B.C.’s economy is diverse and layers of prudence are built into the fiscal plan, including contingencies and a forecast allowance, which shielded the Province from greater impacts,” said B.C. officials.

Officials said the province’s economy is being impacted by slower economic growth and high interest rates.

“B.C.’s economic activity has shown resiliency through 2023, particularly in housing starts and population growth, while exports and consumer spending have slowed,” said B.C. officials.

According to the B.C. government, the province is on track for economic growth of 0ne per cent in 2023, which is a little lower than previously expected.

“As B.C. experiences slower global growth, our actions to build a diverse economy and put people first help bring stability to our economic and fiscal plan,” Conroy said.

“We will continue supporting people by helping to ease the pressure of everyday costs, delivering the homes, schools and hospitals people rely on, and building a clean economy that works better for people who live here.”

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