Finance Minister Cameron Friesen released the public accounts for the 2016-17 fiscal year today, reflecting critical progress made towards reducing the province’s deficit.
The 2016-17 year-end financial results show a summary deficit of $764 million, $147 million lower than the 2016-17 budgeted deficit of $911 million. The minister noted the importance of meeting budget targets, with this being the first time in five years the actual deficit is less than budgeted. Improvement to the province’s deficit is a result of the combination of fiscal discipline, expenditure management, higher revenues and prudent budget forecasting, he added.
“Year over year, the previous government exceeded its deficit projections, putting the province further in debt,” said Friesen. “Budget 2016 began the critical work of reversing the previous government’s pattern of reckless overspending, ever-increasing debt and higher taxes. If we had continued on that path, our deficit would be $1.7 billion by 2019. By meeting our financial targets and addressing the fundamental risks that threaten the security and quality of services provided to Manitobans, we have now begun to put Manitoba on a path of responsible recovery.”
The minister noted debt-servicing costs continue to be a concern in the government’s ongoing pursuit of financial recovery. The 2016-17 results show $930 million spent to service the province’s debt, a slight increase of $19 million from the 2016-17 budgeted amount of $911 million. Debt-servicing costs are projected to increase to $991 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year, the minister added.
“Taxpayer dollars spent servicing the province’s debt is money that cannot be invested in health care, education and social services,” said Friesen. “Our government remains steadfast in our commitment to secure a firm financial foundation, to ensure the services Manitoba families depend on are sustainable today and into the future.”
The public accounts can be viewed at www.gov.mb.ca/finance/publications/financialreports.html.