Alberta to borrow C$4.3 bln in "bitumen bubble" budget

Thu Mar 7, 2013 5:26pm EST
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By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta, March 7 (Reuters) - Deeply discounted prices for Alberta heavy crude oil have forced the Western Canadian province into a sixth straight deficit and prompted the once miserly government to borrow C$4.3 billion ($4.17 billion) to help fund badly needed roads, schools and hospitals, it said on Thursday.

The government of Conservative Premier Alison Redford, which has been warning for months of a multibillion-dollar drop in energy resource revenues, said it will have an overall 2013-14 budget shortfall of C$1.97 billion.

That compares with a previous fiscal year deficit of C$3.9 billion, though the government has changed the presentation of its accounting to separate funds used for operating from those used for capital spending.

From a solely operating standpoint, the deficit is C$451 million, compared with year-earlier C$1.4 billion, it said.