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We’ve wrung our hands long enough. Time to cut up the credit cards and get ready for hard times.

Time to cut up the credit cards and get ready for hard times.
That’s the message auditor general Terry Paddon delivered Friday about the province’s books.
And a few simple nips and tucks won’t suffice. Nothing short of amputation will cure this disease.
We’ve heard enough gloomy reports about the province’s fiscal state that some of us have become immune.
It’s really bad, the premier and finance minister have told us. We’re going to have to do something. Everything’s on the table. Then again, what do you think? Let’s ask you what should be cut. Let’s tour the province and have a chat about it.
Well, a lot of those consultations may be moot. And when you look at what Paddon had to say, you’ll see why:
• “Newfoundland and Labrador’s deficit as a percentage of GDP for 2014-15 is 2.9 per cent — over two times greater than the next highest province.”
• “Projected deficits for the years 2016-17 to 2020-21 are now forecast to total $10.2 billion — an amount almost equivalent to the province’s total net debt at March 31, 2015.  Given the current uncertainty regarding the future of commodity prices, the province cannot support this level of accumulated deficit.”
• “Personal income tax and the HST are the two largest revenue sources for the province. Increases to personal income tax and the HST, along with other consumption taxes, such as gasoline tax and corporate income taxes, will have to be considered as part of a balanced package to achieve government’s deficit reduction objective.”
• “Given the magnitude of the forecast deficits, any meaningful reductions in spending will, of necessity, have to consider reductions throughout the entire breadth of government services, including health and education.”
And here’s the real kick in the head:
“(Considering) that 50 per cent of program expenses are related to human resources, reductions to the size of the workforce will also be necessary.”
In other words, public sector layoffs are no longer probable, they are inevitable.
“Dealing with the anticipated deficits will require hard choices that will affect all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador,” Paddon said.
There’s no sugarcoating it. Jobs will be lost. Schools will close. Government services will be cut back. Taxes will increase.
It’s no longer a matter of what steps can be taken to avoid disaster. We have to ask what steps can we afford not to take.

Time to cut up the credit cards and get ready for hard times.
That’s the message auditor general Terry Paddon delivered Friday about the province’s books.
And a few simple nips and tucks won’t suffice. Nothing short of amputation will cure this disease.
We’ve heard enough gloomy reports about the province’s fiscal state that some of us have become immune.
It’s really bad, the premier and finance minister have told us. We’re going to have to do something. Everything’s on the table. Then again, what do you think? Let’s ask you what should be cut. Let’s tour the province and have a chat about it.
Well, a lot of those consultations may be moot. And when you look at what Paddon had to say, you’ll see why:
• “Newfoundland and Labrador’s deficit as a percentage of GDP for 2014-15 is 2.9 per cent — over two times greater than the next highest province.”
• “Projected deficits for the years 2016-17 to 2020-21 are now forecast to total $10.2 billion — an amount almost equivalent to the province’s total net debt at March 31, 2015.  Given the current uncertainty regarding the future of commodity prices, the province cannot support this level of accumulated deficit.”
• “Personal income tax and the HST are the two largest revenue sources for the province. Increases to personal income tax and the HST, along with other consumption taxes, such as gasoline tax and corporate income taxes, will have to be considered as part of a balanced package to achieve government’s deficit reduction objective.”
• “Given the magnitude of the forecast deficits, any meaningful reductions in spending will, of necessity, have to consider reductions throughout the entire breadth of government services, including health and education.”
And here’s the real kick in the head:
“(Considering) that 50 per cent of program expenses are related to human resources, reductions to the size of the workforce will also be necessary.”
In other words, public sector layoffs are no longer probable, they are inevitable.
“Dealing with the anticipated deficits will require hard choices that will affect all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador,” Paddon said.
There’s no sugarcoating it. Jobs will be lost. Schools will close. Government services will be cut back. Taxes will increase.
It’s no longer a matter of what steps can be taken to avoid disaster. We have to ask what steps can we afford not to take.

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