P.E.I. still on schedule for surplus, says finance minister

P.E.I. still on schedule for surplus, says finance minister

The P.E.I. government still expects to table a surplus budget for 2017-18, despite a big increase in this year's expected deficit.

On Wednesday the province announced the $9.6 million deficit projected last spring for 2016-17 had grown to $17.9 million.

"The biggest factor to that is we had the $30 million HST hit from the federal government." Finance Minister Allen Roach told Compass host Bruce Rainnie.

Ottawa recalculated the HST owed to the province and sent a bill for $30 million in January, saying the province had been overpaid.

Roach said that wasn't the only downside for the budget. The province also overspent $16 million in health and $6 million in family and human services.

Revenue upside

But there was also good news in the budget, said Roach.

Revenue was up over projections in a number of areas.

- Personal and corporate income tax: up $17 million.

- Disaster relief cheque for 2014 flooding from Ottawa: $7 million.

- Immigration investment fund: +$10 million.

- Unused agricultural insurance: +$8 million.

Roach credited a growing economy for the increased tax revenues.

With the HST overpayment dealt with, he said the budget for 2017-18 has a positive outlook.

"The plan is still to come in on budget and perhaps have a little surplus," said Roach.

"If we took the $30 million out of play this year, I think certainly we probably would have had a surplus this year."

The provincial budget is expected to be delivered in April.

- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Community Connections receives $465K to support services for people with disabilities

- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Balancing competing needs in seniors' housing a challenge, says minister