Friday, March 9, 2012

DIRECTIONS, CHOICES and TOUGH CHOICES - DEFERED

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"we must regain control of our expenditures 
over a reasonable time frame. "

Danny Williams, 
State of the Province Address
Jan 04, 2004

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One would almost think that this week's Speech From The Throne was written on the back of envelope, considering the inability of the Premier to articulate what she meant by her government's plan to slash budgets, err, I mean implement a program review to find savings.

The CBC reported that the Premier was looking for a 3% reduction across the board, which meant every department would have to find savings of 3%.  This was in the Premier's own words. She also told The Telegram that it was time to reign in spending on infrastructure, particularly"


By Tuesday the message was a little different,  the government was looking for less than $100 million in savings, which was closer to 2% of the governments expenditures.

On Wednesday, the Premier said that expenditures for  health, education & income security would be ring-fenced and that there would not be any job cuts. I assumed that meant that the other departments were going to have to find more than 3% to achieve government's reduction targets.  Health and education,  account for 58 per cent of overall spending.

Today the message has changed, yet again.  Jobs will be cut - not permanent  jobs, just contract jobs....particularly in the new Advanced Skills and Education Department, where officials have found "a lot of duplication of services." One can feel the chill settling over employees in that department. Let the bumping begin.

One could be excused for thinking that the government is making up it's restraint policy on the fly.  What is the plan? Is there one?

 I agree with the Premier, when she says,  “Our primary function is not as an employment agency...Our primary function is to provide service to the people of the province.” It makes me wonder why the administration has bolstered the public service by 2,100 positions since coming to power. Where the jobs needed? Could a policy of attrition have been used to keep expenditures down? How unsustainable were decisions related to hiring and salary increases? Where was the plan since 2003? 

Why not stick to the unpopular, but fiscally astute concerns expressed in 2004 when the province thought it was going to run a $900 million deficit. Remember, the debt was so burdensome that government needed but to cut spending and freeze wages. Than oil prices spiked, the Atlantic Accord Offsets kicked in and the party began. 

Since that time  the provincial budget has doubled from $4-billion to $8-billion. Public sector employees are getting paid 28% more and the public service is 20% larger. 

Our net debt is $8.1 billion, which represents a net per capita debt of $14,948.

What happened to "an accountable and strategically minded government.  A government that will make the responsible choices that will result in this province finally becoming masters of our own destiny." Surely, they knew that the Atlantic Accord offsets would end, that the reliance on oil revenues made for unpredictable economic forecasting.

I am confused, what about you? Feeling confident? That new car purchase is now on hold.



 




6 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you think there are problems now imagine what it would be like if Ball and Jones were running the show...God forbid.

Anonymous said...

That does not change anything except confirm that Dunderdale is Premier by default!

Anonymous said...

Ball and Jones can't possibly be worse than the NDP government of Danny Williams and Kathy Dunderdale!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is the legacy of 8 years of Conservative Government

"Since that time the provincial budget has doubled from $4-billion to $8-billion. Public sector employees are getting paid 28% more and the public service is 20% larger"

With diminishing oil revenue the only way this spending will be maintained is through increased taxes, or through aggressive cuts.

People should be critical of this government's fiscal management. What they are doing, and what they are to embark on with the Muskrat Falls public works project.

It is not concerning. It is downright scary.

They were blessed with a decade of strong revenues from oil, and it was squandered. Both Brian Tobin and Danny Williams had so much potential, but did so little to have a lasting impact on the province's long term economic stability.

In my own opinion the long term prospects for the island are much worse than in 1996 when Clyde Wells passed over balanced books that were not cooked by offshore oil revenues.

But there is no conservative voice in this province.

Anonymous said...

What a farce this upcoming budget news is.

Much ado about nothing so far.

The Premier wants to make savings and so hints at a reduction in temporary and contractual workers at the Government offices.

Yet, in the same week her Minister ok'd the appointment of John Noseworthy to a contractual position in Government. Yes...that John Noseworthy. The one who ran and lost for the Tories in Signal Hill District during the last Provincial election.

So her "Upon-high-ness" wants to reduce some of the contractuals and temps eh?

That's going to put one heck of a lot of Tories to the EI lines!

Do you think??

What a farce!

Anonymous said...

I am not confident in Dunderdale at all. Frankly, I think there are at least 30 members in the legislature that would make a better Premier, including Dwight Ball.