FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has released its economic and fiscal update for the second quarter of 2016-17 with projections improved from both the February budget and the first-quarter update in August.

“New Brunswickers have said they want us to protect education and health care while being prudent with the province’s finances,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “That is a difficult balance, but we believe we are delivering results. Your government has a fiscal plan in place and it is working.”

Second quarter results indicate a projected deficit of $231.6 million for 2016-17 as revenues have improved and government does not anticipate requiring the contingency reserve. Including the $100 million contingency reserve, the deficit would be $331.6 million for 2016-17.

Revenue is $25.9 million higher than budgeted. Total expenses are projected to be $10.4 million higher than budgeted. Expenses are up as a result of increased federal funding related to new federal infrastructure programs.

“The audited statements for 2016 show a decrease in the deficit of over 50 per cent from 2014 to 2016 – $600.4 million to $260.5 million,” said Rogers. “We will continue to aggressively tackle our deficit while investing in New Brunswickers’ priorities of education and health care. Just last week, Statistics Canada reported that for the year 2015 New Brunswick’s economy grew at its fastest rate since 2004. This is positive news, however, we recognize there is still a lot of work to be done to meet our fiscal and economic objectives.”

The 2016-17 second-quarter economic and fiscal update is available online.