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Alberta’s budget surplus has turned into $500M deficit: premier

Jim Prentice says the province may not balance its books until 2017-18 due to tumbling oil prices.

January 9, 2015   by The Canadian Press

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says the plummeting price of oil means the province is facing a $500-million deficit this year instead of a budget surplus.

Prentice says in an interview with The Canadian Press that his advisers project oil prices will rebound slowly over time, but Alberta may not see a balanced budget until the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Oil prices, the lifeblood of Alberta’s economy, have been in free fall since last summer and tumbled to below US$50 a barrel this week.

As late as November, the government still hoped to run a $933-million surplus this year.

Prentice says the plan now is to budget for oil at $65 a barrel in the next fiscal year, but that would still mean almost $7 billion in lost revenue.

He says his government will look at cutting expenditures, raising revenues and dipping into a $5-billion rainy day contingency fund.

© 2015 The Canadian Press


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