Alberta facing $5.9B deficit as economy and spending slow down: fiscal update

Alberta’s finance minister says the province is on track to record a $5.9-billion deficit this year as the oil crunch hits families and businesses.

EDMONTON — Alberta’s finance minister says the province is on track to record a $5.9-billion deficit this year as the oil crunch hits families and businesses.

Joe Ceci has released figures for the first three months of the 2015-16 fiscal year which began April 1.

Revenue for the year is forecast at $44.3 billion, driven by higher than expected oil revenue in the first-quarter, more money from personal and business taxes and a lower Canadian dollar.

However, the figures may move down in the next update as the benchmark North American price for oil fell sharply in August.

Other numbers reveal a shrinking provincial economy.

Oil and gas investment is expected to fall more than 30 per cent, and there are sharp declines in retail sales, particularly for new cars and trucks.

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