Message from the Minister and
I am pleased to present the 2005/06–2007/08 Service Plan on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and Associated Entities. This plan is an important tool for guiding the ministry's decisions in support of government priorities.
The Ministry of Finance provides banking, accounting, financial and economic planning and reporting, risk and debt management, regulatory and capital project oversight and corporate registry services to a variety of clients including direct government, the broader public sector and private industry.
These roles are essential to creating a strong and vibrant economy that generates more jobs, more security, and a higher standard of living for British Columbians. A strong economy also creates more opportunities for government to make sustainable investments in priority areas such as health care, education and making communities safer.
I am pleased that since last year's Service Plan was published, our province has emerged as an economic leader and national economic forecasters expect strong growth to continue in the coming years. British Columbia is a leader in job creation, spurred by robust consumer and business confidence and rising investment.
The ministry will continue to support British Columbia's economy through balanced budgets, prudent debt management, competitive tax policy, streamlined regulations and innovative service delivery.
Balanced budgets are a key component of our three-year fiscal plan. They underpin our commitment to sound fiscal management, which in turn allows us to make sustainable and long-term investments that make British Columbia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.
Last year, we fulfilled our commitment to introduce a balanced budget and over the past four years, the government has consistently achieved or improved upon its fiscal plan targets. That track record of achievement was noticed by Canadian and international investors alike.
Over the past year, three major credit rating agencies improved their ratings outlook for British Columbia, each citing the government's demonstrated ability to implement multi-year fiscal plans and achieve its targets. Late last year, Standard and Poor's increased British Columbia's credit rating, their first such upgrade in over 15 years.
As a result of sound fiscal management, our borrowing costs are among the lowest in Canada, which means we can spend less on debt interest and more on services for British Columbians.
Ultimately, it is the ministry staff who drive the quality and value of the services we provide. I would like to acknowledge the continuing professionalism, dedication and hard work of staff within my ministry in preparing and implementing this Service Plan.
I look forward to the challenge of achieving the specific goals outlined in this plan and the broader goal of an even brighter future for all British Columbians.
The 2005/06–2007/08 Ministry of Finance and Associated Entities Service Plan was prepared under my direction in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. I am accountable for the basis on which the plan has been prepared. All material fiscal assumptions and policy decisions as of January 31, 2005 have been considered in preparing the plan and I am accountable for achieving the specific objectives in the plan.
Honourable Colin Hansen
Minister of Finance
January 31, 2005