Friday, November 26, 2004

BC Surplus?
Back in Black
I hit the sack
I been too long
I'm glad to be back
Yes, I'm dead loose
from the noose that's kept me hanging around.
I'm just, uh, livin' on the side 'cause it's gettin' me high,
forget the hearse cause I never die.

First the feds, now the province:
B.C. surplus to hit record $2b after federal windfall
Much of it likely to go to deficit cutting, finance minister says

Jim Beatty

VICTORIA -- The B.C. government is predicting its largest budget surplus in history after learning it will receive an unexpected $1.2 billion windfall from Ottawa, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

The new money, which comes from Canada's equalization program, is expected to push British Columbia's surplus above $2 billion this year.

Finance Minister Gary Collins said the province is flush with so much cash it simply won't be able to spend it all before the end of the fiscal year in March. That means much of it will likely go toward reducing B.C.'s $37-billion debt.

Interesting. Here were the budget predictions:
What Finance Minister Gary Collins expected from Ottawa, Sept. 2004:

2004-05 $36 million

2005-06 $6 million

Now: Updated formula calls for:

2004-05 $800 million

2005-06 $600 million

Okay, so how did this happen? There seems to be a serious problem with the certainty of our projected revenues. This is a breakdown at the federal level for not communicating with the province, and vice versa. It is also obvious that the equalization formula is more complex than first thought.

Question: Why are we stiffing a province like Newfoundland for a couple hundred mill/year when a province like BC doesn't need this equalization cash. We are already in black, so why are we receiving these windfalls when the Maritimes could really use the money?

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