Finance Minister Blaine Higgs has released a four-year economic and financial outlook the includes information to help political parties put a cost on their promises in their upcoming election campaign.
The new Fiscal Transparency and Accountability Act requires the finance minister to publish such an outlook within 90 days of a fixed election date. New Brunswick will hold a provincial election on Sept. 22.
Under the new law, political parties must put a cost on their election promises or run the risk of losing their provincial funding based on the number of votes they receive.
The Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2014-15 to 2017-18 includes "rule-of-thumb" guidelines on revenue and expenses to help parties cost their promises.
The document includes a list of the approximate financial impact of various possible election promises:
- 1 kilometre of moose fencing along a highway - $100,000
- 1 kilometre of four-land arterial highway with interchanges - $2.9 million to $4.2-million
- 1 kilometre of local road construction - $500,000 to $1 million
- 1 kilometre of paving - $250,000 to $400,000
- 1 pupil decrease in pupil/educator ratio in schools - $51 million per year
- $1 an hour increase in pay for home care workers - $6.3 million per year
- Building a k-5 school - $10 million to $15-million
- Building a high school - more than $30 million
- Building a small rural health centre - $2 million
- Building a large urban health centre - $5 million
- Building a 45-bed hospital - $100 million
- Building a 302-bed hospital - more than $500 million.
- Building a 60-bed nursing home - $15-million
"This selection is by no means exhaustive and cannot cover all potential commitments," states the outlook.
"Expense and revenue estimates are high-level and are subject to change based on assumptions and the economy."
Examples of the estimated revenue effect of one percentage point change in various key tax rates are also listed:
- Personal income taxes (all levels) - $119.6 million
- Harmonized sales tax - $140 million
- General corporate income tax - $17 million
- Tobacco tax - $8 million
- Gasoline tax - $10 mi.llion