Second quarter results indicate New Brunswick on track for budget surplus

FREDERICTON - Second quarter fiscal results released by the New Brunswick government indicate it is on track for a projected surplus of $88.1 million compared to the $23.1 million surplus forecast in the 2019-20 provincial budget tabled in March.

The net debt is also projected to decrease by $232.7 million from budget.

In a news release, Finance Minister Ernie Steeves says despite the positive results, the province is still not in a position to spend more and continues to face serious financial and social challenges.

Steeves says the government needs to get its fiscal house in order to be able to afford essential services in the long term.

The Tory government says revenue is projected to be $101.6 million higher than budgeted, mainly due to a $72-million increase in personal income tax revenue and a $44.6-million increase in revenue related to new federal funding.

However, total expenses are also projected to be higher than budgeted by $36.6 million, due to $38.7 million in additional expenses related to the new federal funding.

Cannabis-related revenue is down $14.2 million and tobacco tax revenue is down $12 million due to lower than projected volumes.

The Department of Finance and Treasury Board projects real GDP growth for New Brunswick of 0.6 per cent for 2019, unchanged from the forecast in the 2019-20 Budget. The average of private sector forecasts is now 0.9 per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2019.