Provincial Budget 2013
A collection of stories posted to The Telegram website regarding Budget 2013.
A collection of stories posted to The Telegram website regarding Budget 2013.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) says job losses in Tuesday’s provincial budget are tough to take, but positive economic indicators may prompt more women to go into business for themselves.
Paula Sheppard, the organization’s executive director, said the shock of the job cuts — nearly 1,200 positions were eliminated in Tuesday’s budget, including some vacant positions that will remain unfilled — should be lessened by the strong provincial economy.
All good indicators for business
“In terms of the impact it’s going to have on business owners, the forecast they gave for the economy in general — disposable income has increased, retail sales have increased — they’re all good indicators for business owners,” she said. “Right now, in these times, I think entrepreneurship is a good alternative, because now you’re looking at being able to create something for yourself.
“We still have a strong economy, despite the cuts we have in the budget, and I think the private sector is now the place where you’re going to…
Education Minister Clyde Jackman says the provincial government will continue to channel maximum funding for education into classrooms and maintain the best pupil-teacher ratio of any province in Canada.
In a news release, Jackman said student enrolment has declined by 14,000, or 17 per cent, since 2004, and there was a need to examine all organizational and administrative supports.
The Department of Education first identified more than $6 million in efficiencies in the departmental budget. Further streamlining of services will be achieved, he said, through the establishment of two provincial school boards in Newfoundland and Labrador as of September 2013 — one English and one French-language board.
“The next steps will include the establishment of a transition team, with representation from across the province, and advertising for a provincial board CEO,” said Minister Jackman. “The internal structure and organization of the provincial board will be finalized prior to the start of the 2013-14 school year.”
About $537 million, almost 64 per cent of the entire education budget, is approved for teachers’ salaries, substitute…
With the Stephenville facility’s sudden closure, he and many longtime users of the centre are shocked at the loss of a building which has been a recreational and social hub of the Bay St. George region for decades. Now 44, Alexander coaches a variety of sports at the centre, including badminton and basketball. He works in the building as regional co-ordinator for the Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Circle, runs a summer program, plays badminton and runs an active start program which teaches fundamental movements to 27 pre-school children in the mornings.
He said many professionals and residents from other countries count on the centre while integrating themselves into the community.
“A lot of people make the misunderstanding that this is just a gym,” Alexander said. “They don’t understand the implications to the social and mental well being of the entire community.”
Officials from the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Culture informed staff of the unexpected closure in person Tuesday. A sign was posted informing users to remove their belongings from lockers before the…
Provincial Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy didn’t mention the word “arts” in his speech Tuesday, but the sector didn’t go ignored in the 2013 budget.
The government made little contribution to arts, culture and tourism in the province this time around, with spending estimates on par with or below last year’s budget.
Money for The Rooms was cut significantly. The amount budgeted to the provincial corporation — which provides for the acquisition, conservation and preservation of art as well as artifacts and archival records — was about $7 million in 2012; it will be $5.95 million this year.
Funding for the province’s Arts and Culture Centres was also reduced, from $2.36 million last year to $2.2 million.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, which provides grants to local visual and performing artists and arts organizations, saw its funding remain static at $2.1 million.
The maximum amount for the Film and Video Tax Credit was increased from $3 million to $4 million, to encourage the continued development of the local film production…
A projected provincial deficit of $1.6 billion has shrunk to less than one-third of that amount due, in large part, to an unexpected increase in the amount of oil produced offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.
An extra eight million barrels or so resulted in an additional $265.5 million in revenue, helped drop the provincial deficit to $563.8 million, when added to a collection of unexpected tax revenues, mining royalties and reduced spending through job cuts.
For 2013-14, a total of 32.3 per cent of all provincial revenues are expected to come from oil royalties, requiring close consideration of oil production numbers, value and the possibility for diversifying revenue streams in future, to avoid sudden losses and gains tied to having an oil-based economy.
Provincial revenues are expected to be about $6.4 billion in the next fiscal year.
“Every $1 change in the price of a barrel of oil has a $26-million impact on revenue,” notes the province’s new 10-year sustainability plan, released with the budget.
The plan includes a collection of…
Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy dramatically reshaped the provincial government Tuesday with his 2013 budget, laying off nearly a thousand employees and moving to reduce the overall size of government.
For the past two months, Kennedy has been warning of a projected $1.6-billion deficit, but increased revenue from oil royalties and taxes softened that blow. Combined with major cuts across the board, the government managed to bring that forecasted deficit down to $563.8 million.
To make that happen, Kennedy moved to consolidate and make cuts right across the government. Employees have been laid off in every department and more jobs are being eliminated.
The government is also eliminating positions that have been left vacant by an ongoing hiring freeze, and Kennedy said he hopes he’ll be able to get rid of roughly half of the positions of the 190 people who have opted into the early retirement program.
All in all, more than 1,500 positions are affected in one way or another, and many more employees will be hit by union…
Depending on who you asked following the release of the 2013 provincial budget, you would get a different total on the number of people affected by government job cuts and layoffs.
Provincial union leaders insist none of the official numbers are acceptable.
As part of the budget, the government announced 1,181 jobs will be eliminated, including layoffs for 485 employees in the core public service, 246 vacant positions that will not be filled, and 450 positions being cut outside of core government departments.
A hiring freeze remains in effect.
In addition, 190 workers have been approved for early retirement packages. Some of their positions will ultimately be filled, and some will not.
The job cuts and layoffs reflect the result of a top-to-bottom review of the core public sector, said Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy.
“It’s a tough situation. It’s not one that I particularly like. It’s not one that any of us likes. But it’s something that we have to do in order to ensure that we can reduce the…
In Budget 2013, government announced there will be one English board and a French board when the 2013-14 school year begins.
There are currently four English boards and consolidating them will see administrative and financial services move to a district office in St. John's.
There will still be regional offices at Gander, Corner Brook, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
More details on the restructuring will be announced in the coming weeks.
The budget also saw a reduction of 160 fewer positions in the K-12 system as of 2013-14.
Those include administrative and support staff.
However, teacher job losses aren't expected -- 550 teachers are set to retire this year -- and there will no reduction in regular classroom teachers delivering required curriculum.
As well, supports to students with special needs will not be affected.
Education Minister Clyde Jackman declined requests to meet with reporters in the budget lock-up Tuesday morning.
He is scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday morning.
The education section of the budget -- $1.3 billion in expenditures…
ST. JOHN’S — The province’s former finance minister said Tuesday the city fared relatively well in the 2013 provincial budget.
Tom Marshall, the current minister of natural resources in Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s Tory government, said the province’s wealth in recent years has been the result of high demand and prices in the oil and gas, as well as mineral sectors.
With prices now down globally, he said the province had no choice but to cut spending and slash jobs in order to rein in a projected deficit of $1.6 billion.
“When the money was rushing in, we could spend a lot of money,” Marshall said. “It’s the people’s money, we don’t keep it. When demand for the commodities drops, which means the prices drop, the oil and mining companies make less money ... and therefore governments receive less money.”
Tuesday’s $7.6 billion budget is expected to reduce that deficit to a projected $563.8 million. To do so, the government has implemented measures which will slash hundreds of jobs in the…
An increase in the maximum payout per household in the provincial Relocation Policy, funding of $49 million for Municipal Operating Grants, a new Capital Works Program for the seven largest municipalities in the province, and funding for recreation initiatives were among the items announced in Budget 2013 today in relation to towns and cities across the province.
The provincial government will also commit $750,000 to further advance the work underway on the development and implementation of a province-wide basic 911 system.
“These new programs will support community development across the province,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O’Brien.
“In addition, the provincial government will begin discussions with key stakeholders including Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador on a review of the provincial-municipal fiscal framework to ensure that it is sustainable and fair for all municipalities in the province.”
Some of the programs and initiatives to receive funding include:
• A commitment to maintain Municipal Operating Grants at existing funding levels for communities under 11,000 residents for the remainder of 2013;
• $22 million to support a new Municipal…