Nfld. & Labrador

Dwight Ball says low oil, high spending could force budget cuts

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball says declining oil prices could force the province to make budget cuts as early in 2015.
Liberal Leader Dwight Ball says there may need to be spending cuts in the future, in light of declining oil prices. Ball was a guest on this week's On Point with David Cochrane. (CBC)

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball says declining oil prices could force the province to make budget cuts as early in 2015.

Ball said the latest projections for oil costs have trading at less than $90 a barrel for the foreseeable future, and that could mean some tough choices for government.

"No one wants to talk about budget cuts, but we have to be realistic here. We cannot pass debt on to the next generation," Ball said, during an interview on this week's On Point with David Cochrane.

"In this so-called best of times, we've added $3-billion to our deficit, we've increased our per capita debt, household debt has increased, so we need to make sure that we get our priorities right and that we spend our money wisely."

Ball said the cost management must be dealt with – either by the current government now, or a possible Liberal government after the next general election.

"We can't put expectations in place that we can't deliver on — no government can do that. If you want to be responsible, if you want to do good governance practices in place, you have to be realistic here," said Ball.

"Our budget right now, with oil — one third of our revenue comes from oil. We don't need to be passing on extra expenses, debt to the next generation. That would be very unfair for anyone in my chair, or even the premier today, to be willing to pass that on to the next generation."

You can catch the rest of Ball's interview on the latest edition of On Point with host David Cochrane on CBC Television at 7:30 p.m. NT on Saturday.

With files from David Cochrane

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