Nfld. & Labrador

Liberals promise $270-million larger deficit

The Liberals are promising to run much bigger deficits and cut hundreds of millions of dollars in government spending, according to their full platform released Sunday afternoon.

Dwight Ball cutting $380 million in "government waste" over next four years

Liberal leader Dwight Ball plans to spend $180 million on canceling the proposed HST hike and is promising $38 million in new program spending next year. (CBC)

The Liberals are promising to run much bigger deficits and cut hundreds of millions of dollars in government spending in their full platform, released Sunday afternoon.

A Liberal deficit would be $270 million higher next year than what's projected in the 2015 provincial budget, and continue to be more than $126 million higher in 2017/2018.

That's in part because the Liberals are expecting lower economic growth. By the end of 2020, they say the total amount they'll need to borrow is similar to what the PCs laid out in the budget.

The Liberals plan to spend $180 million on canceling the proposed HST hike and are promising $38 million in new program spending next year, the majority of which is in health care.

They have not budgeted any money to build a replacement for the Waterford Hospital. There is only money in the platform for design and analysis of the project.

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball said once the design work is done, they will know how much money it will cost and whether government can save through a private partnership.

"Our intention is we will be doing the new Waterford," said Ball.

"The evidence, what we get from that research will be shared publicly. Then the decision made to green light that hospital will be done in 2017."

The Liberal team unveiled the final plank of their platform, including costing, on Sunday afternoon. (CBC)

Liberals scrapping larger HST rebate

Ball also said he would scrap the bigger harmonized sales tax rebate to low-income earners promised in Budget 2015. 

"When you look at low income earners, what people have told me is that they cannot afford the wait for a government to determine when a cheque comes out," said Ball.

"What we've decided to do is not put our hands in their pockets on day one. Stay out of the pockets, leave the money in the pockets where it belongs."

The party is still promising a surplus in 2017-2018, which would be $175 million higher than what's projected in the current budget.

Cutting 'government waste' by $380M

Over the next four years, they plan on balancing the budget with nearly $1 billion in new revenue and savings.

This includes cutting $380 million in "government waste" over the next four years; selling off  $50 million per year in government assets and Crown land; and bringing in an extra $359 million over the next four years from economic diversification.

The party also says it'd reduce spending on government marketing and advertising, reduce the hiring of external consultants and cut some compensation for parliamentary secretaries.

However, Ball said there are no plans to cut any jobs.

"This is not an austerity budget, this is about spending the taxpayers' money, making sure we do a better job of spending that money," said Ball.


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