B.C. Finance Minister Carole James is projecting a growing budget surplus and stable, but slower economic growth in her latest quarterly financial update.
Ms. James says the former Liberal government’s decision to rely on a speculative real estate market was unsustainable and irresponsible, leaving people without affordable homes and businesses without workers.
Property-transfer-tax revenues to the government are down $250-million and the most recent housing sales statistics from April to June show a decline in home sales of 15.9 per cent, but home prices have yet to soften.
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Ms. James says the government is delivering on its commitments and is forecasting a surplus budget of $669-million, $450-million higher than was projected in February’s budget.
The fiscal forecast is for stable growth of 2.2 per cent this year and 1.8 per cent in 2019, with medium-term growth expected to average about 2 per cent through to 2022.
Ms. James says her government’s economic forecast is prudent compared with the private sector’s outlook, recognizing the potential downside risks of uncertainty regarding the North American free-trade agreement.
The minister says B.C.’s real gross domestic product is expected to rank among the top provinces again this year and in 2019.