Fall Fiscal Update: Another Missed

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

October 27, 2016


For Immediate Release


Fall Fiscal Update: Another Missed Opportunity


Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, said, "The Finance Minister's fall fiscal and economic update was another missed opportunity to lay out a comprehensive long-term plan for responsible fiscal management and strong economic growth for Newfoundland and Labrador. After burning up one quarter of the Liberal government's ‎2015 four-year mandate, the Minister proved today that their party was never ready to govern and is kicking the can down the road for seven years to bring the province back to surplus.


"Today, the Minister spoke numbers, not action and did not identify a plan which is what people continue to look for. The Ball Liberals told the people of the province in election campaign 2015 they had 'a plan' - even 'the best plan' - and expected their 'captains of industry' to drive and execute the economic plan they said they had; but 12 months later, they have raised taxes and fees on our people to exceed national levels and done nothing to curb expenditures while our business community and investors are in shock,” said Hutchings.


"Their fall update is not even important enough to warrant the presence of the Premier in the province to show leadership in a time of fiscal and economic downturn. The Premier would have approved the date for the fiscal update, and he chose to have it happen on a date when ‎he knew he would be out of the province for a scheduled event. He is once again ducking his responsibility to lead, to participate in the conversation about what's happening in our province and to answer the difficult questions, leaving it for others to do. It is the Premier's responsibility to give an account for the fact that the economic plan that he promised has still not been delivered by the government he leads,” said Hutchings.


"Other jurisdictions in Canada dealing with similar downturns have at least laid out a direction that can be debated, discussed and followed, but the Liberals have been indecisive, and delivered nothing resembling a plan as the uncertainly grows.


"We laid out a plan in Budget 2015 with key principles to assist with the coming fiscal challenges ‎over the next four years. We had a plan designed to adapt to changing circumstances and get expenditures down, control ‎debt, keep our taxes low, reduce the size of government, and continue to drive the growth we need in sectors like fisheries and aquaculture, agrifoods, tourism, technology and other areas of strength and opportunity. The Liberals, by contrast, still have no comprehensive plan for expenditure reduction, debt reduction or growth, and today announced numbers rather than action to address the fiscal situation. The Liberals boasted of finding new revenues on the backs of taxpayers, and the update today shows increases mainly due to increased oil revenues.


"Their lazy approach of raising taxes has made things worse by drawing money out of the pockets of consumers, employers and investors that should be circulating to drive growth. And after a year, they still don't get it.


"The credit-rating agencies expressed skepticism that the government would follow through with its fiscal commitments this fall, and they were right. Their lack of confidence is driving up the province's cost of borrowing and the debt. And no doubt the bond rating agencies will respond.


"It's been a year now, and the Liberals still don't know how to lead fiscally or economically, and the entire province is suffering because of that," said Hutchings.




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


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


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