_News Talk 770
Strong returns on oil boosted Alberta's bottom line significantly in the last fiscal year, according to new figures released by the province.
Alberta's deficit was much smaller than expected last year at $23 million, meaning the province avoided having to take an extra $2.2 billion out of its rainy day Sustainability Fund.
However, early returns on oil prices this year suggest it will be a difficult feat for Finance Minister Doug Horner to duplicate.
The province relies on oil and gas revenues and taxes to fund much of its $40 billion in program spending, but both revenue sources are trending down.
The government is banking on oil averaging close to US$100 a barrel this fiscal year, but the price has been dropping steadily and now hovers in the US$80 range.
Revenue from personal and corporate income taxes fell three per cent below expectations in the last fiscal year despite 60,000 more people coming to Alberta, and real GDP growth that hit five per cent.