29 September 2010

When the status quo is not an option…

The newly elected premier of New Brunswick is promising to tackle a provincial budget deficit approaching a billion dollars by “holding the line” on taxes and eliminating “wasteful” spending.

Oh yes.

And he’ll balance the budget in four years.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how he manages to sort out New Brunswick’s financial mess, at the same time, promising no radical change.

The New Brunswick Tories have their work cut out for them.

A new Progressive Conservative government led by David Alward will:

  • Cancel future tax reductions f or the 1,300 richest New Brunswickers, who have an average income of $450,000, announced by Shawn Graham last year. This move will allow New Brunswickers to keep more than $120 million over the next four years to tackle the deficit and protect front line services, senior care and education for our children.
  • Target a two percent reduction in wasteful and unnecessary spending while protecting spending on priority programs in health, education and services to those in need. Under the leadership of a temporary Government Review Office, this action will result in savings of $150 million annually.
  • Create a “Taxpayers First” website for people to submit their ideas on where to save money in government to reduce the deficit and where to invest in better programs and services.
  • Hold the line on cutting corporate taxes to 10%, still the lowest rate in the country, preserving $25 million in annual funding for government programs.
  • Reduce by 50% the small business tax rate during our four-year term.
  • Require that the Auditor General produce a special report on the province’s finances 60 days before each fixed election date.
  • Propose new laws to start down the road to balanced budgets within four years.
  • Increase the frequency of financial reports so that New Brunswickers can judge our performance.
  • Propose new rules on how much the provincial government can spend in any one year, including a legislated cap on total spending that can only be exceeded under special circumstances.
  • Bring forward legislation requiring government to table a deficit reduction plan with every budget, and that the Auditor General verify the results annually.
  • Encourage more collaboration between government departments to promote efficiencies and share common services.

- srbp -