Not a ‘slash and burn’ budget: Marshall

Glen Whiffen
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Published on April 24, 2012

Finance Minister Tom Marshall addressing members of the media today prior to announcing the budget in the House of Assembly. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

Published on April 24, 2012

Finance Minister Tom Marshall's shoes are pictured prior to delivering the budget in the House of Assembly Tuesday. Marshall said earlier he did not buy new shoes this year for the budget. Buying new shoes is a custom for finance ministers when delivering a budget. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

Published on April 24, 2012

Joan Burke, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, speaks to media today on the items impacting her department in Budget 2012. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

Published on April 24, 2012

Joan Burke, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, speaks to media today on the items impacting her department in Budget 2012. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

Published on April 24, 2012

Charlene Johnson, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services, speaks to members of the media today regarding increased funding to her department in Budget 2012. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram.

Published on April 24, 2012

Charlene Johnson, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services, speaks to members of the media today regarding increased funding to her department in Budget 2012. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram.

Published on April 24, 2012

Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services, answers reporters' question about health-care items in Budget 2012. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

Published on April 24, 2012

Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services, answers reporters' question about health-care items in Budget 2012. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

Published on April 24, 2012

Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services, answers reporters' question about health-care items in Budget 2012. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

Says focus is on long-term financial stability for province

Finance Minister Tom Marshall delivered a nearly $8 billion provincial budget today that holds the line on the levels of spending and investments seen in the past in key areas of health care, education and infrastructure, while carrying a deficit of $258.4 million — lower than previously forecast.

Fears of large job losses in the public sector also failed to materialize with only about 45 temporary positions expected to be eliminated this year.

The Numbers: how does this budget stack up against previous years?

In addition to the reduction in temporary positions, the various departments also found $38.8 million in savings which came primarily from reducing administrative costs and lowering budgets for travel, professional services and purchased services.

Marshall said government decided not to “slash and burn” to deal with the fiscal challenge this year, but to manage and reduce spending over time.

“The long-term focus of government is demonstrated in our chosen goal to lower net debt per capita to the all-province average over 10 years,” Marshall said. “Having said that, we must remain vigilant and ensure our level of spending growth is affordable and sustainable to attain the goal.”

Marshall said government will hold the growth of the public sector through attrition over the next five years when about 24 per cent of public sector employees will be eligible for retirement, while some others are expected to leave by taking jobs in the private sector. He also said government departments will continue a structured core mandate review of operations to identify opportunities to ensure the efficient delivery of programs and services.

The minister noted this year's budget deficit reflects the end of offset payments under the Atlantic Accord, and lower oil production revenues due to the Terra Nova and White Rose projects being scheduled for maintenance shutdowns during the year. A return to surplus, however, is anticipated by 2014-15.

“Budget 2012 reflects a reduced rate of spending growth, while ensuring the important programs and services that Newfoundland Labrador families rely upon are not compromised,” Marshall said. “Net program expenses will grow by 1.7 per cent in 2012-13, well below the 2.2 per cent expected rate of inflation.”

Some key items in the budget include:

• About $3 billion to enhance access to health care in areas such as long-term care and community support, breast cancer screening, and shorter wait times;

• Almost $900 million for infrastructure improvements including major roads projects, replacement of aging ferries, continued construction of new schools and hospitals, and repair, maintenance or redevelopment of existing buildings;

• Almost $200 million for businesses to facilitate growth and development;

• $150.8 million in the Poverty Reduction Strategy, an increase of approximately  $11.3 million from last year;

• $130 million over two years for new municipal infrastructure projects;

• Maintaining the additional funding level of $4.6 million that was provided last year to municipal operating grants.

• $9 million in new funding to increase apprenticeship training, support post-secondary institutions and students, and enhance workforce development;

• An additional $8.8 million for the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services;

• $3.7 million to provide a 35 per cent reduction to seniors aged 65 and older on driver's licence and vehicle registration fees, and other licences and fees for such things as hunting, fishing, cutting wood, and camping;

• Continuing tax initiatives such as the Residential Energy Rebate, the supplementary Child Care Tax Credit, Personal Income Tax reductions and the Low Income Seniors' Benefit.

• $3 million for Season 4 of Republic of Doyle to be allocated over two fiscal years.

Organizations: Department of Child, Youth and Family Services

Geographic location: Terra Nova, White Rose, Republic of Doyle

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Recent comments

  • Joseph McGrath
    April 25, 2012 - 04:35

    I really feel sad when I attempt to see what lies in the future for NL.Nothing permanent,nothing to create new industry or to form an industrial base in the province.All the talk is debt and more government money for social programs rather than trying to get things started in the Province to meet the future needs.This province will soon be one large retirement home for the majority.Labrador should rise up to become its own Province after the shabby treatment it received in this financial plan if you can call it that.I ache for the average person who lives here.

  • Marty
    April 24, 2012 - 21:57

    I don't understand the logic of $$$ for ROD. If the show is so popular and successful, why does it need govt money? Do other shows get this type of support? Hardly seems fair that they get funding if other programs don't. Also, with the mess our roads and marine transportation system are in, this might be a more appropriate place for the funding.

  • Harvey
    April 24, 2012 - 21:19

    What brains this gov't has to be able to predict that the next surplus will be in 2015!! Simply stupendous!!! Anyway, for the next 3.5 years we will be "standing on the promises of Tom".

  • flyinbrianpowell
    April 24, 2012 - 21:06

    poverty reduction up 11.3 million, it'll be more next year. increases in fuel, electricity, and a handful of other things are going to force more people in to poverty. Blunderwhale missed the boat yet again, the works of ye should get aboard that Lyubov Orlova when ye unties er and go wherever she pitches. And you want to reduce spending......stop attending these $200 per plate dinners with wine and get together for potted meat sandwiches and purity syrup.

  • dan
    April 24, 2012 - 18:31

    I agree with the 3M for ROD, its not really a cash outlay, its more of an "in kind" type of deal, the spinoffs and tourism $$ are far more than 3M. Why would we not invest in our own people??? ROD is some of the best to ever come out of NL. What IS disgusting is BLUNDERDALE and her moron circus telling everyone that a tight budget with major cuts was coming only to turn it around on budget day! Only a moron would continue to support these idiots. Come on NDP get some real leadership and some trustworthy candidates for next time around, MAYBE you can get that chance you want!

  • Wayne Tibbo
    April 24, 2012 - 18:15

    Is R.O.D part of the uniform and public service pension. I wish it was. Can you believe, we were not even thought about or mentioned. Sound like we must be second class to TV productions. What a laugh.

  • IW
    April 24, 2012 - 17:55

    oh yeah? OH YEAH!

  • Joseph McGrath
    April 24, 2012 - 17:31

    Some thought come to mind!!!! When is it necessary to provide a positive-script to placate the masses? I wonder WHY? The masses DO NOT want to be exposed to negative Real-News/Facts. I wonder WHY? What is the Real-Money doing during these exciting times? Prosperity Galore. !!!! Now is the perfect time cycle to adjust and adapt to the policy-of-the-day...Mega Opportunities Galore...take whatever is on the table and demand more. Why not? Needless to say, the taxpayer LUVS-IT. It is ALL about MONEY. Ding Ding Ding I never saw Republic show so am not qualified to offer comment???????????? Why did the back benchers behind the Minister on the tv appear to be receiving force fed enemas???

  • Lannon
    April 24, 2012 - 17:19

    ROD--do an episode outside the overpass....great for Tourism!!!

  • Allie
    April 24, 2012 - 16:06

    What about money for fixing roads???i i live in CBN And there is not a road fit to drive on .Why dont they drive around the province and see the state of the roads. Im sure there ,s lots of better places to spend the money than on ROD.

  • R L
    April 24, 2012 - 15:04

    Although I don't watch Republic of Doyle - I can not believe all the negative comments here. The spin offs and marketing that this show generates, far out weighs the government money spent on tax breaks and incentives for ROD. Three million dollars for this type of exposure is a Bargain!

  • Thia
    April 24, 2012 - 14:55

    Republic of Doyle is a great tourism draw. We had friends visit from Vancouver because of it and I'm sure they spent $2000.00 between car rentals, hotel, meals, boat tours, etc. Tax credits are generally given to television and movie productions,NOT cash !

  • Tom
    April 24, 2012 - 14:40

    Tourism? Spinoffs? Show me ANY numbers that says ROD is bringing ANY money back to the province. I dare you. Theory and fact are not the same thing.

  • Tay Payer
    April 24, 2012 - 14:31

    3 Million for ROD??? This is gross!!!! How about you lower the tax on GAS instead of paying local movie stars!!! you guys are a joke, I wont be so quick on the ballot next time round!

  • Mindy
    April 24, 2012 - 14:20

    Please look outside the box!!! R.O.D. is not taking from the people of Newfoundland. The show has brought much revenue to our fine city and the small businesses that can benifit from this have done so. My family business is just one who has. The program has increased tourism and the interest in our fine province. Not only to mention the fanstastic talent that is showcased each week. R.O.D is a bonus to the province of Nl. What better postive return can you ask for on money spent!!!

  • Oprah Burps
    April 24, 2012 - 13:58

    How stun are some of these comments? Do you know how much revenue Republic of Doyle brings in in terms of spinoffs, tourism, etc? It's called an Investment! bravo.

  • William Daniels
    April 24, 2012 - 13:54

    "Marshall said government decided not to “slash and burn” His buddy Harper is doing enough of this in NL now.

  • Robert
    April 24, 2012 - 13:36

    3 million for R.O.D thats just sickning. wheres the budget because all I see is a waste of Tax Payers Dollars. There is nothing for seniors or low income earners and the PC government is showing there true colors and they will never get my vote EVER! Just as well if they pocket the funds themselves.

    • Bob
      April 24, 2012 - 14:10

      The $3 million for Republic of Doyle isn't necessarily money out of the Government's pocket - as was announced in previous years. It's more along the lines of tax and rent breaks. If they didn't give that incentive, then the show would probably shoot in Toronto, where they WOULD get those breaks, and the Government still wouldn't gain anything. So for the sake of literally nothing, the province get's free promotion, a huge benefit from tourism and other economic stimulus, and you people go on with life not seeing past your nose, and abusing the right to use poor grammar.

  • Derrick
    April 24, 2012 - 13:30

    "A return to surplus is anticipated by 2014-15." Good timing Mr. Marshall, just in time for the next election!!!

  • Mike
    April 24, 2012 - 13:26

    Republic of Doyle is a hit, it gets over a million viewers a week, it sells DVD's and is shown in foreign countries. So why do NL taxpayers have to keep funding this successful show? I watch the show every week, but 1.5 million bucks a year of our taxpayer dollars are being given to a successful program? Sounds like the government is trying to buy into the show's popularity or cozy support from the CBC to me.

  • Newfie Lady
    April 24, 2012 - 13:22

    Seriously? Cut about 45 temporary positions but renew Republic of Doyle for $3M? Ridiculous...

  • Concern citizen
    April 24, 2012 - 13:14

    $3 million to the Republic of BOYLE??????????? You just confirmed that you are DEFINATELY a bunch of idiots and morans THUNDERDALE. It confirms that you and your puppets have NO BRAINS but sawdust between those ears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!IIIIIIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTTTSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!