In my own opinion, the provincial government should always take a more ‘balance’ approach in its fiscal situation.
Finance Minister Tom Marshall discovered he had a $755 million surplus in the provincial budget. Instead of using the whole surplus towards the provincial debt, Premier Dunderdale and Mr. Marshall should have taken a more ‘balanced’ approach to government spending – 1/3rd towards the debt; 1/3rd towards tax cuts and credits and 1/3rd towards program spending, especially healthcare – Pharmacare, homecare, assistive services for those Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with physical disabilities, supports for seniors, mental health programs, education, more affordable and accessible public housing and poverty reduction.
I just think our province’s Finance Minister ought to take a more balanced approach to government spending. I am sure there are other Canadian provincial finance ministers who would love to be in Tom Marshall’s position with a surplus.
Our provincial government is not only in a position to reduce the debt, but to improve our vital health and social programs as well. We are supposed to be a ‘have’ province, but many of our social and health care programs and benefits are still way behind other Canadian jurisdictions, including some ‘have not’ provinces.
One of the negative effects of the current offshore oil boom, especially here in the northeast Avalon, is it is making life more expensive to live, especially for those people on low and fixed incomes.
Cost of housing has gone up, people are still slipping through the province’s and country’s Social Safety Net, many people will suffer from federal cutbacks to programs and services, and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
We may never eliminate poverty but Ottawa and this province should try at least do something to give a hand up to those people who are trying to escape the poverty trap.
Premier Dunderdale and Mr. Marshall – there are still lots of ‘have not’ people living in our supposedly ‘have’ province of Newfoundland and Labrador!