Finance

Record health, education investments, priority investments key to 2010-11 budget (09/12/01)

NB 1905

Dec 1, 2009

FREDERICTON (CNB) - The 2010-11 provincial budget will focus on continuing record funding for health care and education; tax relief to individuals and businesses; and record capital investments of $896 million for strategic infrastructure projects.

photo(Multimedia)

These investments will boost the two-year record capital investments of $1.2 billion announced in March to almost $1.6 billion.

Finance Minister Greg Byrne tabled the budget in the legislative assembly today.

"We are continuing to lead the way, mitigating the impact of the economic downturn, maintaining jobs and creating new employment opportunities," said Byrne. "Our capital investments, combined with our plan for lower taxes and the proposed acquisition of NB Power by Hydro-Québec, will help maintain and create jobs and enable our province to stay on the road to self-sufficiency."

The main components of the budget are in keeping with the priorities of last year's budget:

"As we begin what is anticipated to be a slow, modest recovery, today's budget provides the leadership to address the economic challenges of today and build the foundation for the New Brunswick of tomorrow," Byrne said.

For 2010-11, spending will total $7.996 billion, an increase of 1.6 per cent over 2009-10 revised estimates, reflecting spending pressures in delivering important social programs. The province is facing a deficit of $748.8 million for 2010-11, slightly below revised estimates for 2009-10.

"While the economic outlook has improved in recent months, the recovery will be slow and protracted," Byrne said. "Growth in revenues will be hampered by only a modest upturn in the economy in 2010. Budgetary deficits will continue to be necessary as we provide stimulus to help our province overcome these challenges, but we are already taking steps to ensure that New Brunswick emerges from deficit as part of a responsible multi-year strategy."

Investing in priorities, including health care and education

The budget includes ongoing support for essential programs and services as well as some important new initiatives. This support includes record investments in health care and education.

Among the highlights are:

2010-11 capital budget: record investment

New strategic infrastructure investments have increased funding for the two-year capital investment plan to nearly $1.6 billion, with a record capital investment in 2010-2011 totalling $896 million. These investments will include:

Health care:

$64.9 million for various capital construction projects, including:

Transportation:

$423.4 million in transportation-related infrastructure including:

Education:

The Plan for Lower Taxes in New Brunswick

The largest one-time tax reduction package introduced in New Brunswick began to be implemented on July 1. The first stage of the government's four-year lower tax plan put an estimated $144 million back into the pockets of New Brunswickers and businesses to spend, invest or save. The second stage will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2010, providing savings estimated at $258 million in the coming year for individuals and businesses. By 2012-13, annual savings are estimated to top $380 million.

"The Plan for Lower Taxes in New Brunswick is a vital part of the government's long-term economic development strategy and is designed to promote investment opportunities and grow the economy and create jobs," said Byrne. "Our plan for lower taxes has been nationally recognized as improving the simplicity and efficiency of the tax system and leading to increased competitiveness and prosperity."

The Plan for Lower Taxes in New Brunswick also introduced an accountability mechanism that will make both the provincial and municipal governments more accountable and transparent to taxpayers for property taxes. This accountability mechanism will begin providing benefits to New Brunswickers with their 2010 property tax bills where the new base rates are adopted.

For example, the adoption of the base tax rates by the province will result in provincial property tax savings of about $12 million to taxpayers for the 2010 property tax bills.

"I want to encourage municipalities to follow the province's lead and where possible adopt the rates calculated by the accountability mechanism," added Byrne.

The film tax credit will be extended until the end of 2019. Effective Jan. 1, 2010, approved productions that take place more than 50 km from the three largest cities will be eligible for an additional 10 per cent regional bonus. The film tax credit is 40 per cent of eligible salaries paid to New Brunswick residents and will be 50 per cent of eligible salaries qualifying for the regional bonus.

Responsible management of government expenditures

This budget contains $69 million in program review savings, including the second year of the wage restraint policy that was announced in the 2009-10 budget.

"As we move forward we must continue to invest in priorities, while at the same time providing more efficient and effective public services," said Byrne.

Plan to return to balanced budgets

The budget contains a plan to resume delivering balanced budgets as of 2014-15. This plan reflects revised revenue projections that reflect the effects of the recession and other developments since last March, and corresponding revenue and spending targets that will enable New Brunswick to address its fiscal challenge in a sustained, responsible manner.

Fiscal update 2009-10

In his fiscal update for 2009-10, Byrne said the Department of Finance projects a provincial deficit of $753.7 million, an increase of $12.8 million from the March 2009 budget. Total revenue has increased by $21.2 million to $7.119 billion, while total spending has been revised to an estimated $7.872 billion, an increase of $34 million.

Details of the 2010-11 budget may be found online.

09/12/01

MEDIA CONTACT: Ryan Donaghy, communications, Department of Finance, 506-471-5554.

09/12/01