Newfoundland and Labrador Finance Minister Tom Marshall. Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram
It was Tom Marshall's party today, he showed up wearing new shoes and trying to send everyone home with the loot bag they wanted.
The finance minister presented the 2008 budget with a flourish; announcing a big surplus and plenty of spending on debt reduction, tax cuts and funding for programs and infrastructure.
The budget speech focused on the future and was even called, "Securing a Sustainable Future: Budget 2008, A Forward Looking Fiscal Plan for a Province Destined for Prosperity."
Marshall described the budget as a historic one, pointing out the fact that it is the biggest surplus the province has ever recorded, at $1.4 billion, as well as the most generous.
Highlights of the 2008 budget include:
• $2.3 billion allocated to health and community services and government is committing to spend another $266 million a year on health operations and $133.5 million in capital funding;
• $179 million in tax and fee cuts including a one per cent cut to all personal taxes, the elimination of sales tax on insurance premiums and a reduction in vehicle registration fees to $140 from $180;
• $70 million will be spent on education, bringing that department's budget to $1.1 billion;
• $200 million will be spent to support technology, research and development and economic development;
• $673 million will be spent on infrastructure throughout the province bringing that budget to a total of $3 billion.