Nfld. & Labrador

No guarantee of balanced-budget law: Marshall

Newfoundland and Labrador's finance minister says he cannot follow through on his predecessor's pledge to outlaw deficit financing.

Newfoundland and Labrador's finance minister says he cannot follow through on his predecessor's pledge to outlaw deficit financing.

Tom Marshall said he supports the principle of balanced budgeting, but he cannot make a commitment to live up to a promise that former finance minister Loyola Sullivan made while bringing down last year's budget.

"The days of passing a debt burden on to our children and grandchildren must end," Sullivan— who retired from politics in late December— said at the time.

More than a year later, however, the legislation does not exist, and Marshall told CBC News there are no plans to make it happen.

"I don't know if I agree with balanced budget legislation," Marshall said.

"I certainly would agree with fiscal responsibility legislation… but I'm not prepared to be locked in automatically to a balanced budget every year," he said.

"But it should be the definite goal, in my view."

Marshall is set to bring down the government's next budget— which will likely play a pivotal part in the months leading up to the Oct. 9 general election— on April 26.

A surplus is expected in the budget, but Marshall said there is always a chance that circumstances outside the government's control could force a deficit.

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