New Brunswick·PODCAST

Government credit rating a concern as Liberals release 2018 budget

A globally recognized credit rating company said it is concerned about the Liberal government's budget, which pushes the goal of a surplus to the year 2020-21.

Dominion Bond Rating Service concerned about the Liberal government's budget credibility

Green Party leader David Coon (left) and People's Alliance leader Kris Austin in studio at CBC New Brunswick. (Maria Jose Burgos/CBC )

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A globally recognized credit rating agency has said it is concerned by the budget released by the Liberal government for 2018-19, which pushed the goal of a surplus to 2020-21.

The Dominion Bond Rating Service said the province's debt would have a negative impact. 

"While DBRS has yet to conduct a full review, DBRS is concerned by the budget and questions the credibility of the multi-year plan to return to balance," a statement from the service said. 

Governments have to live within their means.- David Coon, Green Party Leader

But Minister of Finance Cathy Rogers defends the decision to increase the deficit.

"We've got the best economic growth in the past ten years," she said in an interview with Information Morning Fredericton.

However, Progressive Conservative MLA Bruce Fitch said things are getting worse, not better, in terms of population and job growth.

"This is getting close to crisis mode," he said.

"We think this budget is a precursor to the Liberal platform — just change the cover on it."

Political Panel Feb. 1 Edition

5 years ago
Duration 56:28
This week on the Political Panel parties discuss the Gallant Government's last budget before New Brunswick goes to the polls.

The Liberals will spend about $237 million more in the coming year, increasing what had been a projected deficit of $117 million for 2018-19 by $73 million, for a much larger shortfall of $189 million.

Green Party Leader David Coon said the debt has doubled in nearly 10 years and to see the government decide to drive the deficit back up after bringing it down is a problem.

"Governments have to live within their means," he said. "I'm a thrifty guy, let's focus on doing that."

Rogers said in her budget speech that the budget would "restore fiscal order."

But NDP leader Jennifer McKenzie said this budget does not address other factors that are key to care for aging New Brunswickers.

"My concerns are not with what they're doing but how they're doing it," said McKenzie.

And People's Alliance leader Kris Austin said the budget announcement is mind-blowing.

"[They] could care less about the debt or the future of the province and until they start taking it serious nothing is going to change," he said.

You can also listen to the entire CBC New Brunswick Political Panel by clicking on the audio link below.