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B.C. government under-reporting budget surplus: Auditor General

Last Updated Jul 20, 2019 at 10:51 am PDT

BC Auditor General Carol Bellringer (Courtesy: bcauditor.com)

B.C.'s Auditor General says the provincial government has a surplus of $7.2 billion for 2018-2019

Carol Bellringer's audit found the surplus is billions of dollars higher than the $1.5-billion reported this week

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s budget surplus is much higher than what the government is saying, according to the B.C. Auditor General.

Finance Minister Carole James reported Thursday the province had a surplus of $1.5 billion for 2018-2019, but Carol Bellringer says it’s actually $7.2 billion.

The discrepancy comes from the way the province reports revenue from the federal government.

“Government does not record this revenue according to independent accounting standards. Instead, government records the revenues over a much longer period than the standards allow, meaning these revenues have been under-reported and cloud the Province‚Äôs true financial position,” reads a statement from Bellringer’s office.

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According to the Attorney General, the government deferred $5.7 billion in revenue over a number of years

On Thursday, James announced the government was in the black thanks to almost $3 billion in increased revenues collected largely because of higher corporate and personal taxes, as well as speculation and employer health taxes.

ICBC, however, is still in the red, reporting a loss of $1.15 billion in 2018.

– With files from Ria Renouf