The Alberta government spent $1.1 billion more than expected on health care, social programs, schools and post-secondary institutions in the first three quarters of the 2013-2014 fiscal year, leaving the province with a deficit of $335 million.
The province earned $2.7 billion more than forecast but also borrowed an extra $330 million in that same time period to finance capital projects.
Last year, the government started reporting operational figures separate from the amount it spends on capital projects like bridges, roads and schools.
Finance Minister Doug Horner is claiming a $1.2 billion “operational” surplus which doesn’t include costs of building and financing infrastructure.
Flooding in southern Alberta put additional strain on the budget, with the province spending $537 million in operating costs and $33 million in capital this year to help rebuild.
Horner says the province’s finances improved due to higher energy prices, strong tax revenues and a weaker Canadian dollar.