Liberals must clearly disclose trade centre windfall in upcoming budget

April 18, 2016 at 5:17 pm

Baillie wants federal and municipal money protected for future lease payments

HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie says the McNeil Liberals should disclose the revenue for the Halifax Convention Centre in tomorrow’s budget in an open and honest way so that the funds can be protected for future payments.

“The Liberals should not use accounting trickery to make the budget appear rosier than it really is,” says Baillie. “The Liberals should clearly disclose the money that is earmarked for the trade centre and protect it for future lease payments.”

About $110 million is due to the province from the federal ($51.4 million) and municipal ($58.9 million) governments once the majority of construction is completed on the convention centre. It is anticipated that the funds will be received this year.

The lease payments for the convention centre should be booked as an expense over many years. If that is not the case, it would make this one-time windfall show inflated revenue for this year. The other concern is that the Liberals could choose to put the money into general revenue, meaning it would not be protected as a dedicated fund to pay for the Halifax Convention Centre.

Baillie says the Liberals should be honest and completely transparent with Nova Scotians about the budget and the state of the province’s finances.

“There is a right way and a wrong way to present this information. We will be watching tomorrow’s budget very closely to see that the Liberals do not try pull any fast ones over on Nova Scotians,” says Baillie. “It would be wrong for the McNeil government to try create a false impression that revenues are higher when it’s really just a one-time windfall. Taxpayers have had enough of simply kicking responsibility down the road for their children to pay for.”