The B.C. government ended the 2022-23 fiscal year with a $704-million surplus and no operating debt, according to Finance Minister and Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy.
Conroy said despite global uncertainty and high inflation, the province saw higher-than-expected revenue.
“The economy did better than expected through the pandemic and recovery,” she said in releasing the annual public accounts today. “A big part of that was higher income for corporations and higher-income earners. They made more and they paid more in taxes.”
Conroy also said total provincial debt decreased $1.2 billion while operating debt incurred during the pandemic was eliminated. The provincial GDP grew 3.6 per cent in 2022, the same as the national average, and above the 2.8 per cent forecast. It gives B.C. the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in Canada.
The government’s 2022 budget predicted a deficit of $5.46 billion. Year-end revenues were nearly $13 billion higher than forecast while expenses were $7.8 billion higher.
Personal and corporate income tax returns increased $8.9 billion while natural resource revenues, mainly driven by natural gas prices, were up $2.8 billion.
Federal contributions also increased $1.2 billion, mainly from increased social and health transfers due to population growth.
Revenue from commercial Crown corporations decreased as ICBC saw higher claim costs and reduced investment income. BC Hydro’s net income was also lower than forecast.
–Files by Greg Nesteroff, My Kootenay Now