The bad news was that the B 

The bad news was that the B.C. government ended the 2002-2003 fiscal year with a deficit of $3.2 billion. The good news is that was $1.2 billion lower than the $4.4 billion deficit projected in February of 2002.

"We are eliminating the structural deficit and remain on target to balance the budget by 2004-05 and begin paying down the debt in the years ahead," said Finance Minister Gary Collins.

In addition, the accumulated provincial debt was $4.2 billion lower than forecasted, largely due to debt management and lower capital spending.

According to the province, all ministries came in on or under budget.

The province was also quick to point out that the B.C. economy grew at three times the rate predicted in the budget, with 78,000 new jobs created in 2002.

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