Jack Mintz, the chair of the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, wrote an article recently on how provinces fudge their budgets. And the press are buying it wholesale.
The Quebec budget and the B.C. budget are hailed as balanced. Alberta is said to be balanced by using some reserve funds to bridge the gap.
But these are not the full budgets of those provinces. They are the operating budgets only. And all provincial budgets involve both operating and capital budgets.
In B.C.’s case, the operating part has a surplus of $879 million. But the capital is $9.8 billion, all borrowed. So, in actual fact, there is a deficit of (rounding) $9 billion.
In other words, B.C. is spending $9 billion in 2015 more than it is taking in revenues.
Brian PeckfordQualicum Beach