Victoria: Record-high spending on wildfires combined with lower natural gas prices have pushed British Columbia’s projected deficit to $6.7 billion.

The province’s first quarterly report for 2023 says the price tag for fighting wildfires is $966 million, $762 million more than planned in this year’s budget. 

Finance Minister Katrine Conroy has dismissed the possibility of cutting services or adding new taxes to balance the budget. She said provincial officials know maintaining spending works to boost the economy.

The provincial economy performed better than expected this year with economic growth forecast at 1.2 per cent, but the government says that’s likely to slow to about 0.8 per cent next year. — The Canadian Press

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