Bigger cash crunch
GNWT revises surplus numbers

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 29/99) - The Government of the NWT has revised its budget numbers and it's not good news.

Unaudited interim numbers show the NWT was in the red $51 million for the 1998-99 fiscal year, not $22 million as reported earlier, the GNWT said Wednesday.

The GNWT cited extending pay equity settlements to non-union employees and revised health-care revenue from Ottawa for the changing fiscal picture.

"This new financial information emphasizes the need for the government to look hard at current year spending and take steps to avoid incurring some of the $34-million deficit projected for this year," Finance Minister Charles Dent said.

The 1998-99 $51- million deficit means the surplus from that fiscal year is actually $33 million, not $62 million. Under division, the NWT gets $18 million of the surplus.

Factor in this year's projected deficit, expected to be $34 million, and the fiscal situation gets more worrisome.

Closure of the Giant mine will likely mean the fiscal environment becomes even more challenging.

As for the future budget projections, the GNWT is projecting costs will exceed revenues in the next two fiscal years.

These deficits could mean an accumulated deficit of $77 million next fiscal year and $166 million in 2001-2002.