The Yukon posted a $25.6-million deficit in 2009-10, according to audited financial statements released by the federal government Thursday.
That’s almost $45 million off the mark from Premier Dennis Fentie’s optimistic projections of a fat surplus when he released the budget in the spring of last year.
Fentie has often treated the word “deficit” as a dirty word and, to date, has not acknowledged that last year’s finances ran into the red. Instead, he has deflected by noting the government still has money in the bank.
“Perhaps now that the auditor general has spelled it out he will stop denying it,” said Liberal Leader Arthur Mitchell in a release.
Finance officials are now calling for a small deficit of $2.4 million for 2010-11. The budget had initially projected a surplus of $3 million.
Budgets for both years failed to account for rising health costs and new collective agreements with teachers and government workers.