Despite talk of major reductions in expenditures and cutbacks in programs, the Government of New Brunswick has largely backed off from spending cuts. In fact, projected spending for 2016-2017 is up by almost $250 million (+3.1%). Even with revenues expected to rise by approximately $423 million (+5.1%), Government is projecting a deficit of $347 million for 2016-2017.
On the surface, New Brunswick’s fiscal situation appears to be troubling. However, an in-depth look at the numbers reveals the deficit will, in fact, be under control by the next fiscal year. With savings reached in the budget of almost $130 million, on top of the announced $300 million in new revenues from the HST increase, the Government of New Brunswick could reach budget equilibrium or even generate a small surplus next year. Taking into account the $100 million contingency fund in the budget, a budget surplus is feasible by the end of next year, making all the talk of privatization of public services a moot point.
In short, the projected deficit for 2016-2017 comes from the Liberals’ promised infrastructure spending.
Public services and the workers who provide them are not the driving force behind New Brunswick’s budget deficits. The problem lies in the election promises made by the Liberal government, not a structural deficit stemming from public services or the women and men who provide them. Brian Gallant’s government needs to stop privatizing and cutting public services. They should reevaluate their own electoral promises and priorities.
Read the full document written by Luc LeBlanc, CUPE Research Representative: NB Budget 2016 Highlights