November 14, 2002
For immediate release
Fiscal Update - FY 2002/03
Minister Mella noted that, "Forecast revenues have improved from budget, allowing government to decide to increase capital spending for highway improvement and provide for School Board funding."
The Minister went on to say that available data indicates that the Island economy is growing at 3.0 per cent, up from the growth of 1.2 per cent anticipated at Budget. The revenue expansion is primarily the result of our economy performing better than we expected. Provincial source revenues increased by approximately $9.3 million from budget, largely from sales tax. Total forecasted revenues are expected to be $13.8 million more than budgeted.
The Minister added that, when the March 26, 2002 Budget was developed, Government had found it necessary to reduce planned spending in the highways budget by $12.5 million, the largest single reduction. The $5.6 million increase over budget reflects Government's commitment to maintaining the provincial transportation network.
Minister Mella also stated that School Board funding had also been increased over budget by approximately $1.2 million, in recognition of costs associated primarily with special education support in Island schools. This funding increase was previously announced by the Minister of Education in September.
In addition, the Minister reconfirmed the Government's commitment and responsibility to its employees by honouring salary settlements established through completed contract negotiations. Such negotiations have been completed in the Education and Health Sectors, resulting in an increase over budget of $2 million.
Minister Mella will be releasing a summary financial statement during the upcoming session of the Legislature.
In closing, Minister Mella reaffirmed her ongoing commitment to the Government's financial objectives while maintaining the delivery of essential services.