Finance Minister Graham Steele provided the province’s budget forecast update, today, Dec. 14. The province is forecasting a 2009-10 budget deficit of $525.2 million, $66.9 million lower than the budget estimate in October. Total revenues, including net income from government enterprises, are forecast to be $8.5 billion, $78.8 million more than budgeted. The increase is primarily from increases in personal income tax, tobacco tax, and prior year adjustments, offset by minor declines in several revenue sources. Total expenses, including consolidation and accounting adjustments, are forecast to be $9 billion, $11.9 million higher than budget. Increases in the pension valuation adjustment and program expenses were offset by lower debt-servicing costs. The province approved a capital budget of $796 million to help stimulate the provincial economy and provide jobs. Capital spending is now forecasted to be $781.1 million in 2009-10, a decrease of $14.9 million from the budget estimate. School and college projects, government building projects and tearing down Queen Elizabeth High School are forecasted to be under budget this year. The real Gross Domestic Product growth rate for 2009 is now expected to grow by 0.2 per cent, compared with a projected 0.3 per cent at budget time. A copy of the forecast update is available at www.gov.ns.ca/finance .