Weekly Column from Cariboo-North MLA Coralee Oakes in Dec 10th Williams Lake Tribune:
Some may find that the holidays are a more challenging time to stay on track with finances, especially with Christmas just around the corner. It is not only during the holidays, but every day, month and year that we each continually are trying to budget our money to save, invest and plan for the future.
The government is faced with the same challenge in the global and domestic economies. Fortunately, for the past two years, our government has been able to balance the budget, because B.C. has demonstrated with hard work, due diligence and fiscal discipline, it is not only possible to have a balanced budget, but also forecast successive modest surpluses.
Private sector economists are forecasting B.C. to be among the strongest economies in the country over the next couple years. B.C. remains on target to balance the 2014-15 Budget with a projected year-end surplus of $444 million, up by $178 million since the First Quarterly Report. B.C.’s real GDP is forecast to grow by 1.9 per cent in 2014 and 2.3 per cent in 2015, unchanged from the First Quarterly Report.
Further, the independent Economic Forecast Council projects B.C. will see stable real GDP growth of 2.3 per cent in 2014 and 2.7 per cent in both 2015 and 2016 on average, unchanged from the January 2014 forecast. The council also projects B.C.’s real GDP will grow by an average of 2.5 per cent for the 2017-19 period.
Government will continue to exercise fiscal discipline to ensure B.C.’s budget remains balanced. Keeping the budget balanced is the first step towards a stronger economy and allows us to continue to make investments that reflect the priorities of British Columbians.
The Economic Forecast Council’s projection published with Budget 2015 will determine future potential salary increases in public sector agreements negotiated under the government’s Economic Stability.
As we move forward into the New Year, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that we have our third consecutive balanced budget.