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Yukon delivers balanced budget before election to be called by October

WHITEHORSE – Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski used a pre-election territorial budget Thursday to deliver another record-spending plan totalling $1.39 billion.

It’s the eighth straight year for a billion-plus annual budget, and an increase of $24 million over last year.

Most of the money will come from a federal transfer of $946 million.

Another $126 million will be recovered from Ottawa for specific initiatives such as $30 million for infrastructure funding and $35 million to support abandoned mine sites.

Yukon will raise an estimated $153.7 million through territorial taxes and other revenue streams such as the sale of liquor, driver’s licences and hunting licences.

Pasloski, who is also the finance minister, told the Yukon Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday that there would be no tax increases in the 2016-17 fiscal budget.

“All Yukoners should be incredibly proud to know that we have money in the bank, our investment income exceeds any interest charges we face, meaning that no money is diverted from serving Yukoners to servicing debt,” he told the legislature Thursday.

The anticipated surplus for this budget has been estimated at $9.5 million.

The government is committed to fighting climate change without imposing a carbon tax, said the premier, whose Yukon Party has been in power since 2011 and must call an election by October.

“We have a climate plan that is working,” he told the legislature.

“By focusing on more efficient energy systems, reducing emissions in government and providing incentives to individuals, we are protecting the environment while supporting the economy.”

Pasloski said his first pre-election budget includes another $2 million for the Next Generation Hydro project to continue consultation with First Nations and the public in search of a major river suitable for the territory’s next major hydro dam. (Whitehorse Star)