• Budget balance forecasts: surplus of $247.4 mn (0.5% of nominal GDP) in FY24, $40.9 mn (0.1%) in FY25, $39 mn (0.1%) in FY26, and $30 mn (0.1%) in FY27 (chart 1).
  • Net debt: 26.8% in FY24, relatively unchanged at 26.7% in FY25, and declining to 26.0% in FY26 and 25.6% in FY27 (chart 2).
  • Real GDP growth forecasts: +1.1% in 2023, slowing to 0.7% in 2024, and picking up to 1.7% in 2025.
  • Borrowing program: $1.7 bn in FY25, of which $150 mn is on behalf of NB Power.
  • This budget largely holds the line with only modest new spending announced ahead of pending elections, despite a larger-than-anticipated windfall in FY24. This is a prudent plan as economic conditions soften.
Chart 1: New Brunswick's Projected Fiscal Balances; Chart 2: New Brunswick's Projected Debt Load


New Brunswick’s Budget 2024–25 delivers windfall revenues in FY24 but otherwise contains a projected fiscal balance path that looks almost identical to last year. The province now expects a surplus of $247.4 mn (0.5% of nominal GDP) in FY24 owing to higher own source revenue that is only partially offset by greater program spending relative to the mid-year update. The budget balance outlook looks set to return to surpluses between $30–41 mn, approximately 0.1% of nominal output, for fiscal years 2024–25 through 2026–27.

Total expenditure is expected to increase from $12.5 bn in FY24 to $13.3 bn in FY25, as program spending increases from $11.9 bn to $12.6 bn in 2024–25. Program spending in FY24 is expected to be $388 mn above last year’s budget plan, and rise further in FY25. The budget continues to allocate spending towards health (above last year’s budget by $212 mn in FY24, adding $7 mn in FY25), early childhood and post-secondary education (+$35 mn FY24, +$239 mn FY25 combined), social development (+$68 mn FY24, +$100 mn FY25), and transportation and infrastructure (-$11 mn FY24, +$153 mn in FY25). Debt servicing costs are expected to increase to $608 mn, up from $542 mn, but remain at a low 4.6% of total revenue. Total expenditure is expected to grow faster than revenue, 6.4% versus 4.7% respectively, in FY25. The province’s own source revenue is projected to increase 4.3% in FY25 primarily owing to higher harmonized sales tax, personal income tax, and corporate income tax. Total revenue and expenditure are expected to increase in line by 2.5% in FY26, and then by 2.9% and 3.0% respectively in FY27.

Net debt as a share of nominal GDP is projected to continue its descent over the planning horizon albeit on a slightly higher trajectory than earlier projected. Net debt-to-GDP is expected to be little changed in the upcoming fiscal year at 26.7% in FY25, marginally lower than 26.8% in FY24. Afterwards, it is projected to resume a downward trend, falling to 25.6% in FY27 as net debt is expected to grow at a slower pace than nominal GDP. The economic forecasts nominal and real GDP grew at 3.5% and 1.1% respectively in 2023. Growth in economic activity through 2024 is expected to remain positive but slow to 0.7% before picking up to 1.7% in 2025 in real terms.

New Brunswick’s borrowing program has completed $1.8 bn of long-term borrowing in FY24, in line with last year’s budget plan and above the $1.5 bn Q3 estimate. Total long-term borrowing planned for FY25 is $1.7 bn, of which $150 mn is on behalf of NB Power, while $278 mn has been prefinanced based on Q3.

Table 1: Updated Fiscal Forecast $ millions except where noted
Table 2: Outer-Year Fiscal Forecast $ millions except where noted