Canada October Budget Gap Widens Slightly

Canada’s budget deficit was slightly wider in October than a year earlier as revenue from incomes taxes dropped and program spending increased.

The deficit rose to C$2.55 billion ($2.41 billion), from C$2.52 billion in the same month in 2012, the finance department said today in a statement. Income tax revenue fell 0.7 percent while program spending climbed 0.4 percent.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in an interview last week with Global News he’s happy with the progress his government is making in reducing the deficit. Canada should meet its goal of balancing the budget by the year starting April 2015, he said.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty projects the budget gap to total C$17.9 billion for the fiscal year that started April 1, narrowing to C$5.5 billion next year and swinging to a C$3.7 billion surplus the following year.

The budget shortfall in the first seven months of the fiscal year widened to C$13.2 billion from C$11.9 billion a year earlier, according to today’s statement.

Total revenue declined 0.7 percent to C$20.0 billion in October, and rose 2.9 percent in the April to October period.

Total spending fell 0.5 percent to C$22.5 billion during the month, and rose 3.5 percent in the seven-month period. Major transfers to individuals for programs such as elderly and children’s benefits rose 2.1 percent in October.

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