Nova Scotians can’t trust the McNeil budget: Baillie
April 19, 2016
For immediate release
HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie says today’s Liberal budget is dishonest and lacks any credible plan for job creation and growth.
“Premier McNeil is relying on increasing taxes and a one-time windfall to create a fake surplus,” says Baillie. “A trustworthy budget would be based on real job growth and an honest picture of where we are.”
At a time when Nova Scotians need jobs and a real plan for a VG hospital, they got nothing more than an elaborate shell game, says Baillie.
The Liberals are trying to spend one pot of money four times. They are taking money from two other levels of government, specifically earmarked for the Halifax Convention Centre, and is using it to:
- Fake a surplus
- Pay down debt
- Fund a new hospital
- Build a trade and convention centre
- 90 per cent of the fake surplus is based on a one-time windfall. The rest is based on unrealistic tax revenue projections.
- Personal income tax revenue will increase by $147 million, a 5.8 per cent increase over the last estimate (Page 5 – Budget).
- HST is up by $53 million, a 3 per cent increase over the last estimate (Page 5 – Budget).
- Departmental spending is up $190 million (page 1.5 – Estimates and Supplementary Detail).
- 143 more FTEs (Page 1.14 – Estimates and Supplementary Detail).
- Debt increased $75.6 million (page 1.11 – Estimates and Supplementary Detail).
- Employment has decreased over the last three years and shows no significant growth going forward (2013-Forecast 2016 – Page 79 – Budget).
While Baillie is pleased to see money earmarked for mental health services in schools, he says Nova Scotia needs more action to address the gaping holes in our mental health system.
“We have a crisis in the mental health system,” says Baillie. “We want to see a greater emphasis on fixing the systemic issues with mental health services in Nova Scotia.”
With overall government spending growing by another $190 million, Baillie says the McNeil Liberals missed an opportunity to enable job growth by lowering the sky-high tax burden on Nova Scotians.
“With the economy so sluggish, Nova Scotian families can rightly ask why the government wants to reach deeper into their pockets, rather than give them some needed tax relief,” says Baillie.