The Newfoundland and Labrador budget includes job cuts, spending reductions and even some increases for programs. The budget will affect different people in different ways, depending on who you are, where you live and the elements of your lifestyle.
Do you smoke? The tax on tobacco will go up at midnight, with each cigarette costing 1.5 cents more. The government expects to pull in an extra $8 million through this increase. [The NLC has already pushed through increases to the cost of alcoholic products.]
Are you a taxpayer? Your taxes are not going to increase. Despite calls from the left, even high-income earners are being left alone.
Do you own a car, and a computer? The 10 per cent discount for going online to renew your motor vehicle registration will be eliminated on April 1. The majority of car owners now use this method, which had been launched as an incentive.
Do you have a sick or aging relative? The government is spending an additional $15.3 million for home support, bringing annual funding up to $160 million.
Are you a unionized civil servant? Even if you don’t get one of the 935 pink slips mentioned in Tuesday’s budget (485 are in the core civil service, with another 450 in government agencies and boards), your job is not necessarily safe. A tribunal system has already kicked in to handle the contentious bumping system, which will take months to run its course.
Are you a post-secondary student? If you are enrolled at Memorial University or the College of the North Atlantic, your tuition fees remain frozen. Fees at Memorial have been frozen since the Liberal government, and have become some of the lowest in the country. However, the post-secondary sector is not escaping the government scalpel altogether. Government announced that it is moving ahead next year with "a review to ensure that programs are being delivered as efficiently and effectively as possible while meeting the needs of students and the economy."
Do you live on an island or a remote community served by a ferry? Rates are going up by 10 per cent, the first rate increase in seven years. The government notes that more than 90 per cent of the costs of running the provincial ferry service is publicly subsidized.
Are you a town councillor? Get ready for a new funding system. Starting Jan. 1, the government will roll out a new grants system that Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O’Brien says will mean an increase in spending.
Do you live in a city or a large town? The 11 largest municipalities will be able to avail of a $25-million capital fund that will replace the municipal operating grants system. O’Brien says the net effect will mean extra money for infrastructure.
Are you a tourist? Admission fees at all of the Provincial Historic Sites, such as Commissariat House in St. John’s, will increase, and a practice of having one free day a week is being eliminated. Seniors, children and students will no longer enjoy free admission.
Are you a would-be tourist? The government spent about $15.4 million on tourism marketing last year to lure visitors; this year, government is budgeting $11.5 million. That could indicate a reduction in the government’s high-profile campaign.
Are you Jake Doyle? Provincial funding for the Republic of Doyle, the CBC Television series that is wrapping up its fourth season, has been extended.