Provincial budget surplus nearly doubles
Prince Edward Island’s estimated budget surplus of $600,000 will nearly double, according to the latest projections.
Finance Minister Allen Roach presented the fall fiscal update and second-quarter forecast (www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/finance/economic-and-fiscal-updates) to the Legislative Assembly today (November 22). Compared to the 2017-18 operating budget presented in April, revenue is forecast to increase by $23 million and will be offset by over $22 million in added expenditures — resulting in a budget surplus of more than $1.1 million.
“The increase in the budget surplus is the result of continued strength in the economy and sound financial management of taxpayer dollars,” Minister Roach said. “The return to balance has been a steadfast goal of our government since we first took office, and I am pleased that we have met and exceeded our surplus projections.”
Tax revenues increased $13.6 million due primarily to higher corporate and sales taxes. Other revenue increases include additional federal funding for early learning and child care; an increase in federal funding from the Labour Market Development Agreement; and an increase in revenue through Island Investment Development Incorporated.
Added expenditures were for new teacher positions; a new Workforce Development Agreement; an increase in social assistance, the Disability Support Program and new initiatives for child protection; and $16.8 million for Health PEI.
The fiscal performance is supported by a strengthening economy. Much of this growth is attributed to the business community and its entrepreneurial spirit, which is driving progress in the province.
Some highlights include:
- the population has reached 152,000;
- the number of new full-time jobs has increased by 2,500 over the past year;
- employment is growing at 2.8 per cent, the second fastest among the provinces;
- labour income is growing at 4.5 per cent, also second fastest among provinces;
- the value of retail sales advanced by 8.4 percent, second fastest among provinces; and
- housing starts have increased by nearly 44 per cent.
These key indicators are a direct result of government’s plans to grow the economy and rejuvenate the population, Minister Roach said.
“We will continue to invest in strategic priorities such as health, education, support for families, and measures to further strengthen the economy,” he said.