Despite poor natural gas rights and petroleum sales, Province still running budget surplus

The Montney region. File photo

Another less than spectacular monthly sale of crown petroleum and natural gas rights this week, of $1.3 million, has the province still on pace for the worst ever calendar year revenue total in nearly four decades.

Records dating back 37 years show 1982 was the year, with the lowest bonus bids total, of $16.7 million, making the monthly sale average, about $1.4 million.

However, this year, the seven month total is $8 million, putting the monthly average at less than $1.2 million, and on pace for a twelve month total of only $13.7 million.

Only eight of the eleven parcels offered this week were sold and the average price per hectare was $256.87.

That made July, the fourth consecutive month, the per hectare price was less than $300, and the sixth consecutive month the bonus bids total was less than $2 million.

However, the government still had reason to smile this week as numbers were released for the fiscal year ending April 30th, showing the province had not only managed to avoid a major budget hemorrhage, but also to easily better, its own budget forecast.

The public accounts documents released by the auditor-general put the budget surplus at $1.6 billion, and according to the Canadian Press about $879 million dollars higher than forecast last February.

Major credit is going to much bigger than anticipated taxation revenues, and also to the government, by the government, for holding to its spending targets.

Finance Minister Mike De Jong…

“We are an outlier. We are a positive outlier thankfully, but no one else is looking at these numbers. To the extent that at some point if those concerns around the country re-entering a recessionary period are true, we are better positioned than virtually any jurisdiction in the country.

The documents also show B-C’s economy grew by 2.6 per cent last year, putting it just above the national average of 2.4 per cent.

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