Manitoba's deficit no longer forecast to hit over $1B

Scaled-back balanced budget law gets some teeth back

The province's deficit is no longer forecast to hit over $1 billion, according to a government news release announcing the third quarter finances of Manitoba.

The numbers released by the government Monday state the province is now forecasting a summary deficit of $872 million for the fiscal year that ends in March. The December second quarter update forecast the deficit to be just over $1 billion — up $93 million from what was originally budgeted last spring.

"We continue to work in a reasonable and responsible way toward balance as we restore both prudent fiscal management and public confidence in the government's ability to hit our financial targets," Finance Minister Cameron Friesen said in a news release. 

"As we finalize Budget 2017, our focus remains on making the decisions that will enable us to ensure the sustainability of the services Manitoba families rely on today and into the future."

The release states that an increase in income taxes and fees as well as other revenue as a reason for the variance.

It also notes an increase of $64 million in projected debt service costs over the Budget 2016 estimate of $874 million.

"High debt servicing costs mean hundreds of millions of hard earned Manitoba tax dollars cannot be invested in front line services or capital projects," said Friesen. 

"We remain deeply concerned with the uncertainty created by the previous administration's significant borrowing. Our government is committed to strategic investments that will provide Manitoba families with certainty for a prosperous future."