Nfld. & Labrador

Budget 2017 breakdown: a look at what to expect

The Newfoundland and Labrador provincial budget is being presented Thursday.

April 6 is budget day in Newfoundland and Labrador

The provincial government is releasing its 2017 budget Thursday. From left to right, Finance Minister Cathy Bennett, NAPE President Jerry Earle and Richard Alexander of the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers' Council. (CBC)

It's budget day in Newfoundland and Labrador, and that has many people wondering what to expect.

Jerry Earle, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE), told CBC's Here & Now people are worried about what will come. 

"What I've been hearing from our membership across the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador is they anticipate the other shoe to drop," he said.

We have said repeatedly since November, that there would be no new taxes and no new fees.- Finance Minister Cathy Bennett

"The budget last year had a significant impact, not just on our membership but [on] the entire province...I've seen firsthand the detrimental effect on working families, on young families, on youth, on those disadvantaged."

In addition to those worries, Earle said public sector employees will have an eye and ear out for job security.

Finance Minister Cathy Bennett restated in the House of Assembly Wednesday afternoon this budget will not include any new taxes.

Last year's budget fees and taxes prompted protests, like this march from the Avalon Mall to Confederation Building. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

"We have said repeatedly since November, that there would be no new taxes and no new fees in this budget," she said.

"Quite frankly, we're going to be very honest and tell people of the province exactly what we're doing."

Concern over spending

For Richard Alexander, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers' Council, the biggest concern is government spending.

"There's been no appreciable change in government spending levels. They promised us that they were going to do some spending reductions in a fall fiscal update last fall. That didn't materialize. So there's more pressure on this budget," he said.

"The solution tomorrow in this budget doesn't need to be a pro-union or a pro-business solution, it needs to be a math solution … right now, the number two expense of our provincial government is interest on debt, and if that doesn't scare people then I don't know what will."

Post-secondary students had a bit of sticker shock when a provincial book tax came into effect in last year's budget. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

One concern Earle and Alexander share is how the province's financial situation affects young people.

"If you add up all the taxes that the last budget increased … we have the largest personal tax burden of any province in Canada," Alexander said.

Government has to act and act decisively in this budget.- Richard Alexander

"[Young people] don't want to live in the  province with the highest personal tax burden, so how do we get rid of these 'temporary' gas taxes, 'temporary' deficit reduction levy?"

Alexander said government has to get its spending under control in this budget in order to do that.

"If we want those taxes removed, if we want to be competitive on tax, government has to act and act decisively in this budget," he said.

Live blog 

Follow updates from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador journalists as we cover the budget.