British Columbia will be deficit-free by 2013, according to B.C. Minister of Finance Colin Hansen.
The 2011 budget predicts the province's economy will grow by two per cent in 2011, 2.6 per cent in 2012 and 2.7 per cent in 2013. At the same time, government revenues are projected to grow by an annual average of 3.4 per cent, said Hansen.
The government will limit annual spending growth to two per cent to ensure the current $1.265-billion deficit is eliminated within the next two years and create a $175-million surplus in 2013, he said.
Hansen acknowledged the key role of public sector workers, who accepted the government's net-zero increase bargaining mandate, for helping the government eliminate the deficit.
The budget also contains a promise to lower B.C.'s small business income-tax rate to zero per cent by April 1, 2012.
Among other items, the budget promises an extra $605 million for health care in 2013 and an $8,257 increase in per-pupil funding in the kindergarten to Grade 12 system this year.
Over the next three years, the government will provide an additional $65 million to income assistance to individuals and families in need.
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