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British Columbians will get an official update on the state of the province's books in a couple of weeks, but the finance minister is already sounding a note of caution.
"Our budget situation is not getting better, it is getting tougher."
Kevin Falcon is aiming that message at members of the BCGEU as they get prepared to go on strike, but it prompted questions about the overall state of the economy.
Falcon admits sagging natural gas prices are hurting the bottom line.
"That has a pretty substantial impact on government revenues and, as I say, this means government has to tighten its belt more, not less."
Failing to collect $400 million in natural gas revenue this year as predicted in the budget may make it tough to hold the deficit to one billion dollars.