01/29/2013 17:06 EST | Updated 03/31/2013 05:12 EDT

B.C. appoints economist to review budget projections

The provincial government is appointing a independent economist to look over the provincial budget before it is publicly released in order to address concerns about the credibility of revenue projections.

Former BMO chief economist Tim O'Neill will review the government's revenue projections from taxes, royalties and other revenue sources up to 2016 and suggest any necessary changes before the budget is tabled by Finance Minister Mike de Jong on Feb 19.

"What I've been asked to do is assess the reasonableness of the projections that they're using for revenue and offer them my view of whether they are reasonable," said O'Neill.

"As part of that I will write a report that will be made public"

After leaving BMO, O'Neill was a special advisor to the Ministry of Finance in Ontario and was on a budget advisory-panel for the Nova Scotia government.

In November de Jong estimated B.C.'s budget deficit would grow to an estimated $1.47 billion by the end of the fiscal year.