Dominic Cardy lays out plan to slash cabinet, bureaucracy
NDP Leader targets list of $213 million worth of cuts in response to provincial budget
The leader of the New Democratic Party is promising to slash the provincial cabinet and senior management in government if elected in September's provincial election.
Responding to the 2014-15 budget delivered by Finance Minister Blaine Higgs on Tuesday, Dominic Cardy identified $213 million in potential savings.
The NDP leader also said he would reduce the number of senior managers to 50 from the current level of more than 100.
"We in the NDP feel a responsibility to lay out a clear alternative for New Brunswickers with the election less than eight months away," said Cardy.
Cardy said the government's labour relations office would once again become the responsibility of the Finance and Attorney-General departments.
He estimated those measures would save $25 million a year.
Cardy said another $74.2 million could be saved by centralizing common government services, as proposed by the previous Liberal government.
"I credit the Liberals for having a had a good idea," said Cardy. "The problem is the Liberals and the Conservatives never bothered to carry through."
Cardy also questioned the $145 million that is placed into fund that offer subsidies to business through three different departments.
It is not healty to have so much of our private economy run on public money.- Dominic Cardy, NDP leader
"We spend $3 million per year evaluating which companies to bail out," said Cardy. "It is not healthy to have so much of our private economy run on public money, and that takes funds away from things that could actually create jobs, like education, training and support to small business."
Cardy said he would unveil a new round of job support for small business later this month.
Cardy's list of commitments if elected also includes a promise to roll back property tax breaks given to those who need it the least, cancel property tax cuts given to corporations, and hold off on tax breaks for apartment owners until the budget is balanced and a mechanism is in place to see that savings are passed on to tenants.
"In the middle of a fiscal crisis, I cannot fathom why this government would have given away millions to big corporations," said Cardy. "Until the budget is balanced, these tax giveaways must be stopped. We can reconsider when we can afford it."
Cardy's campaign-like list of promises also calls for MLAs to use vacant space in government office buildings instead of spending $4 million a year for office rent in their ridings. And he would eliminate the daily committee allowances that MLAs receive on top of their salary when they attend committee hearings in Fredericton. Cardy says that would save another $4-million.