March 26, 2009
Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation
The Williams Government today unveiled Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation, a financial plan that includes strategic investments to strengthen the province’s economy, while protecting and enhancing important social programs. Budget 2009 provides significant economic stimulus, benefiting the people and the communities of Newfoundland and Labrador, and includes targeted expenditures in economic development, infrastructure, health, education, poverty reduction, and the environment.
"The budget our government has presented today will guide Newfoundland and Labrador through this global economic downturn by providing substantial economic stimulus while protecting important social programs," said the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. "Our steadfast prudent fiscal management since we formed government has put us in as favourable a position as possible to deal with the impacts of the global economic challenges. The investments we have made in recent years, including using four consecutive surpluses to reduce debt and cut taxes for residents and businesses, have allowed us to build a strong foundation and have put us in a position of strength. We will continue to build on this strong foundation and stay the course with our vision for a prosperous and self-reliant Newfoundland and Labrador while providing important stimulus spending on infrastructure and planning for major projects such as Hebron, White Rose Expansion and a new hydromet facility."
The Williams Government is forecasting a revised surplus of $1.3 billion for 2008-09; when a one-time adjustment for the 2005 Atlantic Accord is included the total surplus is $2.4 billion. The province forecasts that it will incur a deficit of approximately $750 million in 2009-10. More than half of the deficit, $414 million, can be attributed to the unilateral action of the Harper government to eliminate benefits this year under the 1985 Atlantic Accord. The balance is primarily attributed to a decline in the value of the province’s pooled pension fund. Were it not for the actions of the federal government and pension fund value declines, the Provincial Government would be forecasting a surplus.
"Our government will run a deficit for the current fiscal year rather than cut spending for important programs and services," said the Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board. "Despite the actions of the Federal Government, over the last four years we have reduced net debt from almost $12 billion to $7.9 billion and our net debt per capita has been reduced from $23,000 to $15,500. Our commitment to prudent fiscal management and our focus on debt reduction has built a strong foundation and has provided us with fiscal flexibility during the economic downturn. We maintain our commitment to prudent fiscal management and are projecting a surplus in 2011-12."
Among the highlights for Budget 2009:
"These investments reflect our government’s commitment to the vital programs and services the people of our province depend on," said Premier Williams. "It is important that we maintain a steady course for prosperity and self-reliance, even during challenging financial times. We will build on our success in recent years as we look with optimism to a brighter, more prosperous future."
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Jerome P. Kennedy – Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board
2003 03 26 2:05 p.m.
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