Thursday, February 19, 2015

LNG rather muted in Provincial Budget overview

Tuesday's financial blue print from the Legislature is getting noticed more for what it didn't discuss than for what it did.  And high among the items of whatever happened to ....  is the state of the province's LNG strategy.

That was the highlight item of a year ago, as the Premier, Finance Minister and LNG Minister all outlined the positive direction that the LNG industry was poised to take the province towards.

One year later and a sharp decrease in the financial fortunes of energy companies and LNG didn't make up for much of the Budget review of Tuesday. That followed a theme of last week, when LNG didn't claim much space in the Liberal Government's Speech from the Throne.

Instead, Finance Minister Micheal de Jong focused on such initiatives as new partnerships in the maritime shipping industry, the aerospace industry and the potential of BC becoming a hub for trade with China as the path ahead for the near future.

“The diversity in our economy and export markets have insulated B.C. from the worst of the economic downturn. Budget 2015 will support further diversification by creating a new partnership with the maritime shipping industry, continuing our partnership with the growing aerospace industry, and helping B.C. businesses tap into the opportunity represented by the new renminbi hub to sell their products and services to China.”

He expanded further on his 2015 forecast at a post Budget media session:

Media observers were quick to make note of the rather muted account of the LNG file, a deflection of optimism on the timeline of potential development, that might be of more importance to the North Coast than other areas of the province.

Vancouver Province -- B. C. boasts about balanced budget, but no sign of that LNG boom
Vancouver Sun -- LNG revenue windfall absent from B. C.'s budget
CBC -- LNG Dreams downplayed as government preaches patience
Victoria News-- Energy revenue decline expected
Globe and Mail -- B. C.'s balancing act eases away from LNG
Globe and Mail -- With an LNG decision delayed, B. C.'s attention turns to forestry

And while LNG was barely mentioned, there were other items, some of them familiar themes that once again came to the top of the list when it comes to the Province's financial planning.

In non LNG related issues on the budget, MSP increases, education funding (and a demand for administration cost cuts) and spending on new capital projects over the next few years were counted as key ingredients to Mr. de Jong's blue print for the year ahead.

Vancouver Province -- Fat Tuesday B. C. budget will leave a sour rates in some people's mouths
Vancouver Sun -- Health cost containment key to balanced budget
Vancouver Sun-- B. C. delivers 'fiscal hat trick' with third consecutive balanced budget
Vancouver Sun-- Education budget "very disappointing"
Vancouver Sun-- B. C. health budget holds line on spending
Victoria News-- Surplus funds low-income assistance
Victoria News -- Operating debt begins to decline
Times-Colonist -- De Jong unapologetic for tight budget
Times-Colonist -- Finance Minister de Jong focuses on specific problems
Globe and Mail -- Balanced B. C. budget features higher user fees, little tax relief
Globe and Mail -- B. C. shifts focus to promising industries for another balanced budget
CBC -- Balancing B. C.'s budget, is it worth it?
CBC -- BC Budget raising MSP premiums
The Tyee -- With Budget, BC Keeps Nickel-and-Diming Less Wealthy Residents
The Tyee -- BC Budget: Average Families Left Out?
Global BC -- Few surprises in 2015 Provincial Budget
Global BC -- Finance Minister Mike de Jong on Budget 2015
Global BC -- Budget impact on BC schools
Global BC -- How long will Clark stay on cruise control?

For more items related to Provincial government issues see our archive page here.

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