The province’s latest quarterly update demonstrates that departmental spending is expected to be under budget for the third year in a row. The update also recognizes global economic uncertainty by revising some economic assumptions and projects a deficit of $365.2 million, an improvement of $24.3 million from the budget estimate. Finance Minister Graham Steele released the second fiscal update today, Dec. 15, for the 2011-12 budget. “Even with less revenue than expected, the government is still ahead of the budget released in April,” said Mr. Steele. “The province continues to demonstrate tight control and good management of the public purse.” Total revenues, including net income from government business enterprises, are forecast to be $8.8 billion, down $80.1 million from budget Prior years’ adjustments from provincial revenue sources are forecast to be negative at $92.5 million Total expenses, and consolidation and accounting adjustments, are forecast to be $9.2 billion, $104.4 million lower than budget. Departmental spending is forecast to be $42.8 million under budget. Gross debt servicing costs are forecast to drop by $55.1 million to $830.3 million. This update reflects an additional appropriation of $6.9 million in capital spending. The additional funding is required to support the $23.7 million land purchase with Bowater Mersey. “Prior years’ adjustments, which cannot be budgeted affect our bottom line,” said Mr. Steele. “Last year, we had a large, positive prior years’ adjustment. This year, the province faces a negative adjustment.” This forecast update includes revisions in the economic assumptions for the 2011-12 budget. Economic conditions, locally, nationally, and globally, have resulted in a revised economic growth rate for Nova Scotia of 1.4 per cent for 2011. This is down from the budget forecast of 1.9 per cent. Nova Scotia joins many other jurisdictions in tempering growth projections for 2011 and 2012. Mr. Steele reaffirmed the government’s commitment to balance the budget in 2013-14.