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New Brunswick forecasts $391-million deficit, but Tories say surplus lies ahead

New Brunswick Finance Minister Blaine Higgs is shown in Fredericton on March 22, 2011.

DAVID SMITH-MDS PHOTOGRAPHY/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The New Brunswick Tory government is forecasting its fourth consecutive deficit, but it says better times are on the horizon.

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs delivered a budget that projects a deficit of $391-million for 2014-15 and the debt to rise to $12.2-billion.

But Higgs says he expects a surplus of $119-million for 2017-18.

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Liberal Opposition Leader Brian Gallant says he's skeptical of the figures.

Gallant says that's because the government has consistently overestimated revenues and underestimated expenses.

The budget is also calling for a 3-per-cent hike in social assistance rates in April.

Also, $27-million is being set aside for the catastrophic drug program.

The budget is the government's last before an election set for Sept. 22.

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