No cuts to people or services, but B.C. budget deficit to rise, finance minister says

BC budget deficit to rise

British Columbia Finance Minister Katrine Conroy says the budget she tables on Thursday will protect services and won't raise taxes for ordinary residents, but she also forecasts an increased deficit because "it's the right thing to do."

The minister says the time is not right for the NDP government to bring cuts when most people are facing rising costs for housing, food and other daily staples.

She says the budget will address health care, middle-class housing, a clean economy and incentives for small business.

Conroy says she couldn't pinpoint the size of the deficit, which was projected to reach $5.6 billion late last year, but the budget's long-term outlook forecasts deficit declines.

The government's budget comes less than nine months before a provincial election in the province.

Conroy, who describes herself as a frugal person, says she will be breaking with tradition for the second year in a row by not wearing a new pair of shoes when she delivers the budget.

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