FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government released the first-quarter results for the 2018-19 fiscal year which showed a modest improvement on the projections to the deficit.

First-quarter results, released today, project a deficit of $187.4 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year, which would be a $1.3-million improvement compared to the budgeted deficit of $188.7 million.

“Over the past four years, your government has met and exceeded our financial targets while growing the economy,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “Your government has reduced the deficit by more than half while making crucial investments in education and health care. Today’s first-quarter results are a clear demonstration that our balanced fiscal plan is working.”

Revenue is projected to be $78.5 million higher than budgeted while expenditures are up $77.1 million from budget. Expenses related to the spring flood were a major factor in those costs and will largely be offset by the federal government. Additionally, the partnership with the federal government on the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project has impacted the budget forecast, but will also be offset by revenue from the federal government.

Net debt is projected to increase by $385.4 million and is projected to reach $14.5 billion by March 31, 2019.

The Department of Finance projects real GDP growth for New Brunswick will continue to grow in 2018 at a rate of 1.1 per cent, unchanged from the forecast at budget. This is consistent with the one-per cent growth rate consensus among private sector forecasters. Since 2014, the provincial economy has grown by 5.5 per cent.

In addition to the first-quarter results, the government released the New Brunswick Economic and Fiscal Trends and Sensitivities report. The report supports the principles outlined in the Transparency in Election Commitments Act.

“Not only will this report offer political parties open and transparent information to help with their platform costings, it will also be a tool for the people of New Brunswick to understand the financial implications of election commitments,” said Rogers.

The Transparency in Election Commitments Act sets out a process for political parties to register their platform costings during the election period. The report will help political parties to comply with their obligations related to the costing of election commitments and includes baseline sensitivities for revenue and expenses that can help inform the process.