Living Within Our Means
- The 1997-98 Budget projected a $20.3
million deficit. The deficit projection is on target at $20.1 million.
The deficit target for 1998-99 remains at $10 million.
- Government is on track with its three year
financial plan which will see a balanced budget by 1999-2000.
- Government continues to be prudent in its
financial management and accordingly, is providing for a $30 million
contingency reserve again this year.
- There are no tax increases in this budget.
As a result of the Federal Budget, personal income taxes for residents
of this Province will be reduced by over $30 million of which $12.5
million comes from provincial revenues.
- Effective for 1998 taxation year, the
$100,000 exemption for payroll tax will be increased to $120,000. In
excess of 225 small businesses will be removed from the payroll tax
rolls and approximately $1 million will be put back into the hands of
the business community.
- This Budget includes funding for a wage
increase for our public sector employees that is within our means.
- No new layoffs are anticipated.
- This Budget makes a significant investment
towards addressing Government’s pension obligations and provides for
the reform of the MHA pension plan.
- Government has consulted with the people
and is making investments in education, health care, and the reform of
our social programs.
Our Social Priorities
Health Care - Continues to be Our
- This Government will continue to press the
Federal Government for increased funding for Health Care now that the
Federal deficit has been eliminated.
- An additional $3 million is provided in
1997-98 for hospital equipment.
- In 1997-98, Government injected an
additional $20 million to stabilize the health system. This funding will
not only continue for 1998-99, but will be increased to $30 million.
- This year, Government will also provide a
further $2 million for Community Health.
- $500,000 will be provided to assist with
medical transportation costs for those who must travel for specialized
health care services.
- $2.8 million is provided for increased
cost pressures and demands on the drug programs for seniors and persons
on social assistance.
- Work is continuing on the $130 million
capital project of the St. John’s Health Care Corporation.
- Work is continuing on new hospitals at
Harbour Breton and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and the extension of James
Paton Memorial Hospital in Gander.
- Government has a multi-year plan for new
modern health facilities which includes:
- The replacement of the Blue Crest
Nursing Home and the hospital in Grand Bank with a new multi-purpose
- The replacement of the Carmelite House
Nursing Home in Grand Falls-Windsor with a new long-term care
- The replacement of the Cottage
Hospital in Old Perlican with a new community health centre.
- The construction of new multi-purpose
health care centres in Fogo and Bonne Bay.
- The construction of a new hospital for
the Stephenville/Port au Port/Bay St. George area.
- Planning and design work will commence
later in the year to address identified needs at Dr. G. B. Cross
Memorial Hospital in Clarenville.
Education - The Future is in Our
- The Newfoundland and Labrador Education
Investment Corporation is established with a commitment of $50 million
over the next several years toward construction and upgrading of
- Government will "add back" 200
of the 425 teaching positions that would have been eliminated based on
declining enrolment. An additional 70 units will be provided to help
those children with special needs and disabilities.
- Government will provide $4 million for
awards to post secondary students based on academic merit and financial
need. More than 4,000 awards of up to $1,000 will be available over the
next two years.
- Government will make a contribution of $3
million to Memorial University's Opportunity Fund, bringing its total
contributions to date to $9.3 million.
Social Reform - Bringing Opportunity
and Independence to Families
- A new Department of Health and Community
Services will be established to integrate the provision of children and
family health services through existing regional community health
- Core funding will be provided for
transition homes in Nain and on the Burin Peninsula.
- Basic rates for individuals and families
receiving income support will be increased by 7% over the next three
years, commencing with a 2% increase in 1998-99.
- $400,000 is dedicated to a new $150 per
month cost of living allowance for families with dependent children
living on the Labrador Coast.
- A $500,000 pilot project will be conducted
to explore means of support, such as day care, that will enable single
parents collecting social assistance to maintain employment.
- The monthly earnings exemption for those
families with dependent children on income support will be increased
from $100 to $150.
- In 1998-99, $4.4 million will be provided
to create up to 1,200 meaningful employment opportunities in the private
and non-profit sectors.
- Over $7.5 million will be directed this
year towards youth employment programs.
- Endowment funding of $1 million will be
provided to the School Children’s Food Foundation of Newfoundland and
Labrador to expand its efforts in meeting the nutrition needs of
children throughout the Province.
- $10.5 million in savings from the National
Child Benefit Program will be reinvested into new benefits and effective
client-centred services for low-income families. The initiatives that
will be introduced by this Province include:
- $1.15 million for additional Family
- $4.6 million for the improvement and
expansion of licensed child care services in the Province.
- $2.8 million for the establishment of
regional youth service networks, in partnership with existing
- $1.6 million for initiatives under the
social assistance program designed to help parents who find work.
Developing Our Infrastructure
- $26.6 million is provided for Municipal
- This year, Government will spend $36
million on the construction of the Trans-Labrador Highway.
- Government will be spending a total of $16
million on provincial road construction and improvements.
- Under the Federal/Provincial
Transportation Initiative, $56 million will be tendered this year for
work on the Trans Canada Highway and major trunk roads.
- $2 million will be spent on forest access
roads, improving the availability of wood to the sawmilling industry.
- 1997-98 marked the first year of managing
the coastal Labrador ferry services. This year, Government will make
positive changes to the rates and schedules for people using this
- There will be no rate increases for the
first time in five years. In most cases, minimum rates for shipping
freight and vehicles will be reduced.
- The ferry rate charged to ship heavy
equipment to Community Councils in Labrador will be cut in half.
- Improvements will be made to the Fogo/Change
Islands and Bell Island ferry services, including a $1 million
improvement to their docking facilities. The former MV Prince Edward
will be integrated into the Fogo/Change Islands service. The MV Beaumont
Hamel will transfer to the Bell Island service to join the MV Flanders.
- An additional $3 million will be invested
in the Newfoundland Municipal Financing Corporation to assist with
municipal debt restructuring. This is in addition to the $9 million
provided last year.
- Government remains ready to partner with
the City of St. John’s, the Federal Government, and the private sector
for the construction of a new civic centre for the St. John’s Region.
Growing the Economy
- Government will allocate $7 million under
the Strategic Enterprise Development Fund for business opportunities in
strategic growth sectors.
- In excess of $100 million will be invested
under the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development
- Government will invest $400,000 in new
fisheries, with an emphasis on the commercialization of underutilized
- $10 million will be invested in the
aquaculture industry through such initiatives as the completion of the
aquaculture facility at the Ocean Sciences Centre in Logy Bay and the
Aquaculture Resource Centre in Bay D’Espoir.
- Building on the success of the Cabot 500
year, Government will be providing $1.5 million to plan new celebrations
commemorating such events as this Province’s 50th anniversary of
Confederation (Soiree’99) and the Viking 2000.
- Soiree’99 will coincide with the 1999
Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook. An additional $445,000 will be
provided in 1998-99 for capital improvements to the Stephenville
Training Centre and the Arts and Culture Centre Pool in Corner Brook.
- Government will also provide in 1997-98
$600,000 to the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.
- The Newfoundland and Labrador Film
Development Corporation has been asked to develop a competive film tax
credit program for this Province.
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