B.C. could be sinking much deeper in the red as Finance Minister Colin Hansen admitted Thursday that the projected half a billion dollar 2009-10 deficit is not “anywhere near possible.”

In February’s budget, the finance minister predicted back-to-back deficits of $495 million in 2009-10 and $245 million in 2010-11, with a return to balanced books by 2011-12.

“Given what I know today, I am not optimistic at all that a $495-million number is anywhere near possible,” said Hansen in Victoria during Thursday’s release of the 2008-09 public accounts.

Up until the third week in June, Hansen remained hopeful that the province could hit their projected deficit.

On June 24, the federal government provided the province with their estimated projected tax revenues.

“Personal income tax is going to be significantly lower than they had anticipated … but the biggest impact — and the one that took my breath away — was what was happening with corporate income tax revenues in 2008-09.”

Hansen will unveil a budget update on Sept. 1.

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