1994 Legislative Session: 3rd Session, 35th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
MR. DAVID MITCHELL
WHEREAS the government of the Province of British Columbia has proven to be incapable of balancing the provincial budget without reference to statute or other regulatory authority requiring the government to balance annual expenditures with annual revenues;
HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:
1 In this Act "balanced budget" means an annual budget for a fiscal year presented to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia by the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations in which the forecast of the total amount of expenditures in the general fund shall not exceed the forecast of revenues for that fund for the fiscal year in question;
"budget deficit" means the difference in an annual budget presented to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia that is the amount of total annual expenditures of government over the annual revenues received by government;
"budget surplus" means the difference in an annual budget presented to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia that is the amount of total annual revenues of government over the annual expenditures of government.
"estimates" means the estimates prepared under Section 20(1) of the Financial Administration Act;
"general fund" means the general fund of the Consolidated Revenue Fund;
"expenditures" means expenditures of the general fund;
"revenues" means revenues of the general fund;
"Minister" means the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations.
2 Requirement for annual expenditures not to exceed annual revenues:
(a) An annual budget presented to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia shall be at minimum a balanced budget or be presented in such form so that revenues will exceed expenditures.
(b) Where it is recognized prior to introduction of annual spending estimates for the following fiscal years that a shortfall in revenues is anticipated, bringing into question the possibility of balancing the budget, the Minister shall cause expenditures to be reduced as a priority over adding new taxes or increasing existing taxes in order to return balance to the budget presented for the following year's estimates.
3 Authority to allocate budget surplus When a budget surplus occurs, the Minister shall allocate the full amount of the surplus to the reduction of the total accumulated operating debt of the province.
4 This Act comes into force on April 1 of the year following completion of the two year period provided for in An Act to Reduce the Expenditures of Government for the purposes of the fiscal year then beginning and thereafter, unless an annual budget for the province is in balance prior to the start of a fiscal year in the two years prior to the commencement of this Act, in which case this Act comes into force for the fiscal year immediately following.
This Act requires the Government of the Province of British Columbia to provide for a balanced budget within two years of enactment, and each and every year thereafter. A balanced budget means that revenues and expenditures of the Province are either equal to one another or that revenues exceed expenditures. Following the coming into force of this Act, the Government of the Province of British Columbia shall neither propose nor permit any provincial budget to be out of balance.
SECTION 2 causes the Minister of Finance to give priority to reducing government expenditures, instead of raising taxes or introducing new taxes, in order to provide for a balanced budget.
SECTION 3 provides for any annual operating surplus to be dedicated to retiring total provincial debt.
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