The P.E.I. government’s budget has come in $4.7 million higher than projected, Finance Minister Wes Sheridan says.
During his update on the province’s finances released at historic Province House today, Sheridan said the 2013 deficit is now expected to come in at $79.6 million.
The province has projected a deficit of $74.9 million
Sheridan said the province is moving steadily toward this year’s budget targets.
“Any budgetary plan has to have some flexibility to deal with unforeseen events,” said Sheridan.
“While we faced some additional challenges, we were able to realize some savings in other areas. The result is that we are not far from our target for this year, and are on the path to balance by 2015.”
The primary reason for the increase is expected crop insurance losses following last summer’s dry spell. In addition, tobacco tax revenues are coming in $2.5 million lower than expected.
Health care and social services expenditures continue to be a pressure, the minister said, specifically the added costs for in-province physicians, out-of-province hospitals and the disability support program.
On the positive side, Sheridan said departments are closely monitoring all expenditures and reducing costs where possible, so total expenditures are tracking below budget.
The fiscal update, usually contained in a glossy document, was released as a simple one-page document showing total revenues, expenditures and the consolidated deficit.
… More on this story later, full coverage, including reaction, in the print-edition of The Guardian tomorrow.