Newfoundland and Labrador deficit for 2012-13 drops but books remain in the red

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – New audited statements say Newfoundland and Labrador’s deficit for the last fiscal year was $195 million.

That’s slightly down from the $198.8 million deficit it projected in a fiscal update last month, and a far cry from the $430.9 million forecast in last spring’s budget.

Finance Minister Tom Marshall credits lower than expected spending for most of the difference.

Still, the fiscal update last month said a deficit of $450.6 million is projected this fiscal year, despite a historic economic boom.

Marshall blamed the shortfall on the province’s reliance on the unpredictable offshore oil industry.

Oil prices and production are volatile and can throw off the earnings that make up about one-third of provincial revenues.

Marshall said last month that net debt is projected to fall to about $9.1 billion this year, down from a high of almost $12 billion in 2004.

About 70 per cent of provincial net debt is unfunded public sector pension plan liabilities.