Ball talks dire finances at Rotary

James
James McLeod
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Premier Dwight Ball speaks to the Rotary Club of St. John’s Thursday

Premier Dwight Ball wants people to know how serious the province’s fiscal situation is — he devoted basically his entire speech to it at the Rotary Club of St. John’s Thursday.

Premier Dwight Ball speaks to the Rotary Club of St. John’s Thursday

Ball has been delivering the message for the better part of a month now — first in a Christmas fiscal update, then in year-end media interviews, and then earlier this week when he announced that pre-budget consultations will last for the next 18 months.

The situation, he said Thursday, is unlike anything the province has faced before.

“We will rise to the challenge, because if we do nothing else, it will be the financiers, it will be the lenders, who determine the future of our province,” he said. “Simply put, our debt servicing will increase over $100 million per year. If we do that, that’s money that will go to financing institutions, and it’s less money that we have for the services Newfoundlanders and Labradorians want.”

The government’s deficit is nearly $2 billion, and the Liberals are looking for ideas on how to raise revenue and cut costs.

Ball once again said the government wants to hear from people through consultations, although so far he’s not getting the kind of feedback he wants.

On the government’s budget consultation site, the top suggestion for efficiency and innovation is for the government to stage a communist revolution.

Ball said he doesn’t plan on doing anything like that.

He also warned people it won’t be easy to cut the size of the civil service, because of the 50,000 people who work for the government, more than 36,000 work in health care and eduction, and most people don’t want those areas to be cut.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Rotary Club

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Recent comments

  • SkepticalNewfoundlander
    January 15, 2016 - 14:34

    It seems like everyone is demanding rash action. Newfoundland did not create this problem over night and it will not solve it overnight. Here's a suggestion, create a detailed report of where the provincial money is being spent and publicize it. How much is spent on road repair every year? How much is going to charity? How much is going to private contractors? What percentage is actually going to the MP pensions everyone is so concerned about? How much is spent on public relations/making the government look good? What percentage is debt payments? How much are we going to be PAYING to keep upper churchill running for quebec starting this year? Then do your "consultations" when people have an idea of the big picture. Unless of course you're just banging the drum in order to justify something. And get rid of the spend it or lose it financing system that encourages sections of government to waste money so they won't be broke when they need it.

  • david
    January 15, 2016 - 10:59

    Except for having the power of taxation, NL would be in receivership right now. And as people figure this out and perhaps begin the exodus, even that won't keep the wolves form the door. This, after the obscene amount of government wealth that was generated here in the past decade plus. Think about that....

    • a business man
      January 17, 2016 - 09:12

      Well said David. I enjoyed increasing my newfoundland investment portfolio in the last few years, since the province wass booming. But now that we are in hard times, I am in the process of cashing out and moving as many assets as possible. There is just no sense in being one of the suckers who gets stuck with the bill. That said, I will not be moving my restraurants or rental properties, but I will certainly be increasing the prices that I charge to ensure that I am always profitable and to offset the inevitable tax increases. In short, I will ensure that other pay my share of the taxes.

  • james
    January 15, 2016 - 10:46

    NO OIL NO MONEY

  • Steve
    January 15, 2016 - 10:26

    How much will full day kindergarten cost? I see from Minister Kirby today that it is full steam ahead. Somehow we managed without it all these years, can we really afford it? What is the point of all this consultation when the decisions have already been made?

  • Miss B
    January 15, 2016 - 10:16

    With all this political to and fro' sometimes it helps to have a sense of humour : ) Seeing the indecision in both Ottawa and at the Confederation Bldg brings back memories of TV show Fantasy Island when the little person looks to the sky and shouts what sounds like " The Plan, ze Plan, " meanig the plane, of course. So where are the plans? For sure politicians who won the provincial and federal elections have plans?They told us what was wrong with previous governments? Didn't they? Humour continued... I grew up in an outport community where our dogs were as free as everything else. They used to run, barking after cars slowly winding their way over the rough gravel roads. Seemed like the dogs were having so much fun. What was funny in a sad sort of way was the behaviour of the dogs when the car stopped and the dogs caught up. Such sadness and disappointment for the doggies. Well for the PM and the premier, the car has stopped. The election is over, shut off the cameras, the mics snd please get to work. Bark if you have to to get things done. Things are beginning to hurt. Looking at events around the world like price of oil, floundering economys and markets we are approaching emergency conditions.

  • Premier Do-Nothing
    January 15, 2016 - 09:49

    It is becoming clear that Ball's plan is simply to delay making any significant changes to the disastrous budget priorities that the Tories defined in their last several years. He thinks he will get no criticism if he does nothing. The man seems to have no understanding of leadership and the importance of reassuring citizens that he has a plan. His problem is now our problem because things are only going to get worse by doing nothing.

  • Big Papi
    January 15, 2016 - 09:46

    It looks like Premier Dwight Ball did da wong ting by agreeing to having another 15 months of public consultations. Like someone said the other day "If your house is burning down, is the fire department going to ask you what the best way is to put out the fire?" Get on with it!

  • Muggins
    January 15, 2016 - 09:45

    Ball is proving himself to be Nfld's own version of Neville Chamberlain, the former british PM who appeased Hitler during WW2. Weak kneed & without leadership abilities, he seems paralyzed by fear of offending the civil service or tackling the desperate state of our finances. Even though he sits in the "big chair", his only solution is to kick the can down the road with more consultations, an old political ploy from a bygone era. It's time to get off your butt & make the hard decisions you were elected to do. Otherwise you may find yourself in the same position that brought down Dunderdale.

  • roy206
    January 15, 2016 - 08:10

    This job pays $250,000 per year and you are encouraging min wage workers to give you direction less than 60 days after the whole province endorsed your plan to make a plan. Consultation is working on the votes for the next election. The province needs a leader. The photo op is over....get on with it..

    • TJ
      January 15, 2016 - 09:22

      Why not listen to a minimum wage worker? They live in the real world.

  • Michael
    January 15, 2016 - 06:21

    How can ball say the situation is dire but then offer as a solution a public consultation process on the economy that will travel the province for 15 months and then file a report 6 months after that? 15-21 month is 2 budget cycles and nearly half a term in office before he really puts things into motion. He doesn't know what to do.

  • concerned
    January 15, 2016 - 04:59

    Unfortunately our economy would likely be better off if is was run by chinese communists. History has shown that business owners have run it into the ground.

    • Jeff
      January 15, 2016 - 08:39

      The 'old money' in this province, the de facto business leaders, are nothing more than Fish Merchants 2.0.

    • Jeff
      January 15, 2016 - 08:57

      The 'old money' in this province, the de facto business leaders, are nothing more than Fish Merchants 2.0.

  • Charles Murphy
    January 15, 2016 - 04:50

    if you're looking for advice please put the brakes on.and no more traveling around the province on the peoples dime.Dwight,there is a way to go about this without bringing too much suffering and pain upon the people.Just think.