What's the Plan for the $100 Million? |

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 20, 2016


For Immediate Release


What's the Plan for the $100 Million?


Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, is asking why the Ball government is refusing to say what it plans to do with $100 million secured in previous Hebron negotiations after Ottawa recently, on June 23, agreed to pay this amount of the province's share of Memorial University's new core science building.


Hutchings said, under an agreement negotiated by the previous administration with the Hebron partners, the offshore companies agreed to pay the province $150 million to compensate for Hebron work not done in the province, and the province committed to invest a large share of this funding in the new core science building for MUN. But when Ottawa announced that it would cover $100 million of the province's share of the MUN project, the Premier confirmed this would give the province $100 million in budget room.


"We have spent months questioning the government about the tax and fee increases ‎and reduction in services in education and health that the Liberals said were their plan to cope with the fiscal crisis, tied - as with other oil-producing provinces - to a dramatic drop in world oil prices. The Ball Liberals said some of these measures would be temporary until the province's fiscal situation improves. Projects were stalled, jobs were eliminated and services were cut in a lazy Budget 2016 exercise to cope with the fiscal shortfall.


"The province now has $100 million that was not accounted for during the budgetary process. That is in addition to the $30 million in contingency funding already built into the budget. That provides a significant amount of leeway to rethink some of the harshest and most harmful measures imposed by the 2016 Budget - measures that are impacting families and crushing our economy.


"Accountability demands answers, but the Ball government is hiding the details from Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, denying them access to the information that people have a right to know. For all its talk of being more open, the Ball administration is setting a new standard for secrecy, hiding basic information about what it's doing and planning to do with the people's money. Why won’t the Premier lay out for the people how the Liberal administration will use this $100 million or the $30 million? Where is the Minister of Finance? Is there a plan for this money?


"People are paying more taxes and fees than they have in history, which will shrink our economy further, encourage young families to leave our province, and stifle the investment environment in our province. People are not satisfied with the choices the Ball Liberals have made, and they need to answer people's questions.


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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition


(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca


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