HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative Finance critic Tim Houston says Stephen McNeil’s budget is a house of cards.
Today’s budget forecast update shows revenues are down $73 million and expenses are up $45 million (Page 2). Houston says it’s a recipe for disaster when an economy is as weak as Nova Scotia’s. The budget forecast update says, “For the first eleven months of 2016, employment and labour force are both down.” (Page 13)
“People need jobs. We are facing a serious cost of living crunch. Inflation and taxes are going up and people have less money in their pocket,” says Houston. “Stephen McNeil has proven in his first three years he has no idea how to get our economy going and aggressively grow revenue.”
Houston says on top of that, the McNeil government has completely poisoned the negotiations with unions, putting the entire budget at risk.
“Stephen McNeil has made a huge mess with negotiations. The stress level is really high for Nova Scotians,” says Houston. “It didn’t have to come to this. If Stephen McNeil actually did the work upfront to negotiate, rather than legislate, they could have worked out a reasonable solution that Nova Scotians could afford.”
Houston says the poisoned negotiations have created a massive distraction from what the Premier should be doing.
“There’s no leadership or common sense from Premier McNeil,” says Houston. “He’s unavailable. He keeps ducking from one scandal to the next and he’s distracted from the real goal of rebuilding our economy. That has to change.”