April 11, 2017
For Immediate Release

Why is the Finance Minister Hiding the List of $65 Million in Cuts?
Release the List Immediately, Says Davis

Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, is demanding that Finance Minister Cathy Bennett immediately release an itemized list of the $65 million in cuts from the zero-based budgeting approach highlighted by the Ball government in Budget 2017.

The cuts are mentioned in a fact sheet the Finance Minister released on Thursday with the Budget, but with no details. The fact sheet entitled “Our Plan” stated: “Budget 2017 includes savings of $283 million from actions in the following areas: Implementing a zero-based budgeting approach, saving $65 million. Reviewing expenditures of agencies, boards and commissions for anticipated savings of $42 million. Removing duplication and streamlining management structures within departments, agencies, boards and commissions to make them more efficient and focused will achieve savings of $31 million. Annualizing the impact of actions implemented in 2016-17 accounts for $68 million in savings. Net savings of $77 million including actuary calculations and other accrual adjustments.http://www.budget.gov.nl.ca/budget2017/plan/ourplan.pdf

Davis said, “The only information the Finance Minister gave the people of the province about the $65 million in savings is that single sentence. This is a significant amount of money, but the Minister refuses to provide details. If there is a list identifying the $65 million, release it.”

“In last year’s budget, the Liberals took the ‘lazy’ approach of downloading their budget shortfall on the backs of Newfoundland and Labrador taxpayers with more than 300 tax and fee increases, 299 of which they are keeping in place. This year, they have taken the ‘secretive and mysterious’ approach by not telling people what they are planning to cut,” he said.

“When asked for a list of the cuts the Liberals intend to make this year that amount to $65 million, the Minister refused to provide it. Instead, she criticized us for not waiting until later, during the Estimates Committee meetings weeks from now. When journalists asked for the list, she took the same approach, refusing to answer repeated questions. The Minister is satisfied to keep the details of the Liberal budget a mystery.”

“What is the Finance Minister hiding? Where is the government planning to cut? Tell people,” said Davis.

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications, Office of the Official Opposition (709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca