Manitoba’s projected deficit shrinks for 2nd time in a few months to $193M

The Manitoba government is, for the second time in three months, shrinking the size of its projected deficit.

Finance Minister Cameron Friesen says the province is now expecting a deficit of $193 million for the fiscal year that ends in March.

That’s down from the $548-million deficit predicted in last spring’s budget and the $202 million forecast in the last fiscal update in September.

A major reason is the economic rebound after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and businesses reopened, the government said, which has driven up revenues from income and sales taxes.

The other factor is a turnaround at Manitoba Hydro, which lost money last year but is now looking at a big profit due to wet weather, higher water levels and more export sales.

The fiscal picture may brighten further next year, as the province is expecting equalization payments from the federal government to jump by more than $500 million.

Manitoba has been recording deficits since 2009, with the exception of a small $5-million surplus in 2019. The Progressive Conservative government has promised to balance the budget by 2028.

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