New Brunswick

New Brunswick's projected deficit drops to $115.2M

New Brunswick's projected budget deficit for 2017-18 continues to tumble.

3rd-quarter results put Gallant government a year ahead of schedule after unexpected revenue from feds

Finance Minister Cathy Rogers released the third-quarter fiscal results on Friday, saying the projected deficit of $115.2 million represents a $76.7 million improvement over what was projected in her budget last year. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

New Brunswick's projected budget deficit for 2017-18 continues to tumble.

The government's third-quarter fiscal update now projects a deficit of $115.2 million for the current year, down from the $191.9 million that Finance Minister Cathy Rogers projected in her budget last year.

It's such a dramatic adjustment that the Liberals are one year ahead of schedule: this year's projected deficit is now lower than the $117 million shortfall the Liberals were projecting for next year, 2018-19.

"We have consistently met and exceeded our financial targets," Rogers said in a news release.

The shrinking deficit this year is almost entirely thanks to unexpected revenue, including $102.9 million more in corporate income tax revenue that the federal government is collecting and will remit to the province.

It's also because the province expects to spend $26.8 million less than planned because of delays in a series of federal-provincial water and wastewater projects around New Brunswick.

But the improving outlook for 2017-18 offers no guarantees for the next fiscal year, or for the Liberal projection of budget surpluses starting in 2020-21.

Premier Brian Gallant has announced a series of spending promises in recent weeks that will affect next year's budget.

And his plan to devote an increasingly large share of the gas tax to a climate fund — $37.4 million next year, rising to $180.2 million in five years — will deprive the province of general revenue and make surpluses harder to achieve.

About the Author

Jacques Poitras

Provincial Affairs reporter

Jacques Poitras has been CBC's provincial affairs reporter in New Brunswick since 2000. Raised in Moncton, he also produces the CBC political podcast Spin Reduxit.