Province reduces deficit by $8.25 million, on track to balance
The provincial deficit for the 2016-2017 fiscal year now stands at just $1.3 million, with the province on track to achieve a balanced budget in the current fiscal year.
Thanks to good financial stewardship, a strong economy, and a focus on key priorities, the deficit of $1.3 million compares favourably to the budget estimate of $9.5 million. In addition, government was able to address the $30 million surprise shortfall that resulted from the federal government making a five-year adjustment to the HST calculation.
“Reducing the deficit and returning to a surplus budget is one of our key priorities,” Premier Wade MacLauchlan said. “Being in a strong fiscal position, coupled with a strong economy, means we can invest more in priorities that matter most to Islanders.”
The numbers were released today (October 31) with the tabling of the 2016-17 Public Accounts (www.princeedwardisland.ca/publicaccounts), an annual financial summary and accountability report audited by the auditor general. Government introduced legislation in the spring 2017 legislative sitting to ensure Public Accounts must be tabled by October 31. This action is intended to increase accountability and ensure that Islanders have more timely access to the financial details of the previous fiscal year, which ends March 31.
“The reduction in the deficit for the last fiscal year is the result of the province’s strong economic performance and government’s sound management of taxpayers’ dollars,” said Finance Minister Allen Roach. “All Islanders should feel a sense of pride in this accomplishment – our province is thriving, thanks to the hard work of all residents in every sector.”
The lower deficit was the result of an improved financial outlook during the last fiscal year, with increased revenue. That trend is continuing throughout the current year. At the same time, there was increased spending in the priority areas of health care, education, and family and human services.
Prince Edward Island is Canada’s only jurisdiction to show continuous economic growth since 2008. The province leads the Atlantic region in population growth. In addition:
- housing starts year-to-date are up by 20 per cent over the previous year;
- export growth leads the Atlantic region and ranked third in Canada in 2016;
- manufacturing sales growth exceeds the national average and has led Canada over the past five years;
- the growth in building permits is three times the national average;
- international exports are up by 7.1 per cent; and
- employment growth is double the national average, with 2,000 new full-time jobs year-over-year.