FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government’s third-quarter results for the 2021-22 fiscal year show a $487.8 million surplus compared to the budgeted deficit of $244.8 million.

“The majority of our surplus is the result of stronger income tax and HST revenue, reflecting stronger-than-anticipated 2020 results and a strengthened economy,” said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves. “This is New Brunswick money. Normally our HST would vary, on average, $57 million from budget. This year it is an unprecedented $294 million, which was not anticipated.

“We are also seeing unprecedented revenue increases from budget across the country. This is attributed to one-time federal transfers, federal supports to individuals and businesses, and economies rebounding from the pandemic quicker than expected.”

Revenue is projected to be $832 million higher than budgeted.

“As the year progressed, we built in official federal estimates, which largely come in the second and third quarters,” said Steeves. “This is what has led to the significant spike in revenue.”

Total expenses are projected to be higher than budget by $99.4 million. This is due to higher-than-expected expenses associated with funding for collective bargaining, partially offset by lower expenses in Social Development, Special Operating Agencies and Health.

“When making investments, we must keep in mind that over half of our revenue increase is non-recurring in nature,” said Steeves. “In the next few years, we will see the withdrawal of federal supports and our program spending will continue to be influenced by COVID-19. Our level of debt and taxes remain high, and we continue to have spending pressures. For these reasons, I am committed to managing our finances responsibly.”

The department projects real GDP growth in New Brunswick of 3.7 per cent for 2021, equal to the average among private sector forecasters. The third-quarter results are available online.

Affordable and responsive government is one of the government’s key priorities.