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An independent expert hired by the provincial government says the revenue projections in tomorrow's budget are solid, with one exception.
Former Bank of Montreal chief economist Doctor Tim O'Neill says he found no glaring problems with the budget's revenue projections, citing ample evidence of professional competence and caution.
O'Neill has advised the government to lower its expected returns from natural gas sales, even though it bases those estimates on private sector forecasts.
"Private sector forecasters, and I would include myself among them, simply continue to overstate what we thought was going to happen to natural gas prices in the near term."
O'Neill says natural gas rates have been overestimated in five of the last eight years by an average of 584 million dollars.
O'Neill doesn't blame the government, saying the projections are based on private sector opinions subject to global volatility; but he does suggests shading those revenue guesses by 60 or 70 million dollars in the coming year.
The government has already indicated O'Neill's advice was used to alter the budget that will be released tomorrow.