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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 17, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

Liberals Want $30 Million “Blank Invoice”

 

When Urgent Needs Are Being Ignored

 

 

 

Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, is asking how the Liberal Government expects Members of the House of Assembly to vote in favour of the 2016 Budget with a $30 million contingency fund sitting in the Finance Department for possible unknown issues which may occur during the year. There are urgent needs in programs, services and other cuts the Liberals introduced in Budget 2016 that these funds would be much better spent on. ‎ Emergency funding can be included in departmental lines of funding like Municipal Affairs or Fire and Emergency Services, which is acceptable as it is tied to a department with a clear direction on spending.

 

Hutchings asked, “How about reinvesting $5.1 million to eliminate the Liberal choice to increase class cap sizes? How about $3.6 million of these funds to remove the Liberal choice to combine grades? How about reinstating $1 million to keep the libraries open? Why aren't these good choices for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador? What about using these funds to reinstate $4.9 million to the Prescription Drug Program for over-the-counter medications and diabetic test strips? How about reinstating the $2.5 million cut the government made to reduce adult dental coverage? Why not free tens of thousands of people from having to pay the levy?”

 

 

 

“When the needs for this money are so urgent, how can the government expect any MHA to approve a blank invoice to spend $30 million elsewhere, with no details specified whatsoever? It is our obligation as Members to go through the budget details line by line, asking questions about every dollar the government is taking in and spending, and suggesting alternatives – which is what we are doing. But now we’re being asked to ignore obvious needs in favour of funding a massive $30 million black box about which the government is providing no information. Where is the accountability in that? Why must people suffer to finance this secret slush fund?”

 

 

 

“If Budget 2016 is approved, the Liberals will have the capacity to spend $30 million on things for which they have received no prior approval while people with demonstrated needs are ignored. There is nothing accountable or innovative about the fund. Who could vote in favour of that?" added Hutchings.

 

 

 

-30-

 

 

 

Media Contact:

 

Heather MacLean,

 

Director of Communications,

 

Office of the Official Opposition,

 

(709) 729 6105,

 

heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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