Halifax, Nova Scotia – Budgets can appear complex so perspective is needed. Nova Scotia Finance Minister Randy Delorey introduced the 2017 Budget called Opportunities for Growth yesterday in the Nova Scotia Legislature. How to assess? The key is skip the verbiage and focus on the big numbers within the context of previous budgets:
- Government spending is increasing 3.7% to a record $10.5 billion
- The amount Nova Scotians will pay to the provincial government is jumping a whopping 4.1% to a record $10.6 billion
- Net debt is at a record $15.1 billion
- Debt servicing is up to a record $850 million, nearly twice what is spent on Transportation and Infrastructure.
To put this in perspective inflation is 1.6% and our population is flat (falling in some regions).
The context: Government expenditures have tripled and debt doubled in the last two decades while population has remained static. This budget is not exceptional, it is the same as the last eighteen of twenty budgets irrespective of party in power, record debt, record spending, record taxation with no hint, even on the horizon, that this will change. The budget projections are just projections so should not be given much weight however they make for grim reading; more deficits and more debt.
So to summarize:
- The Status-Quo (PCs, NDP & Liberals) cannot (and should not) manage the finances of the province.
- This budget is a great example of out of control spending, taxation and debt.
- Just because a budget is balanced does not mean government is in control.
- The budget should be renamed ‘Opportunities for Government Growth’.