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.
Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy says the provincial government will introduce legislative amendments in the spring session of the House of Assembly to end the current Labrador border zone tax rebate on tobacco, effective July 1, 2013.
The minister says the move is part of the expenditure reduction measures in the 2013 provincial budget.
“There is no other rebate provided in any other part of the province for tobacco sales and no other province offers a similar rebate. The elimination of this program will result in savings of approximately $3.4 million annually,” Kennedy said in a news release.
The release said, effective 12:01 a.m. on March 27, tobacco purchases by retailers in the Labrador border zone are no longer eligible for the tobacco tax rebate because they have reached their annual quota.
A reduced tax rate on tobacco products was introduced in Labrador in 1984 at the request of retailers in the area. In 1997, the Labrador Border Zone rebate was linked with the taxation levels of tobacco products in Quebec…
UPDATE: The provincial government has agreed to keep the West Coast Training Centre open for three more months. Click here for a video of Stephenville Mayor Tom O'Brien at a rally to save the facility. And click here for a video of Mike Alexander also speaking at the rally.
Nobody was expecting this sort of visit.
Two representatives from the province’s Department of Tourism, Recreation and Culture entered the West Coast Training Centre on March 26 to inform staff the facility would be permanently closing in a little more than 48 hours.
The sudden closure was one of the losses in the 2013 provincial budget that was announced earlier in the day.
“I went there last night to teach a class and there was a notice on the door,” said Wayne Simon, an instructor with Stephenville Taekwondo Club, the morning after the announcement was made.
His group has been using the fitness facility for 38 years. Mr. Simon said he was shocked they weren’t given proper…
Economist Wade Locke was contracted as an advisor to Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy for the development of Budget 2013.
While there was no formal report required as part of his contract, Locke did issue a six-page, final memo to the minister on the province’s economy, the new 10-year sustainability plan and what the economist — also an economics professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland — sees as important considerations for Newfoundland and Labrador’s financial future.
The Locke memo was mentioned by Kennedy to reporters on Tuesday, before he delivered his budget speech.
It has since been provided to The Telegram. The complete memo is provided here.
In the memo, Locke walks through the problem with using terms like “have province” and the importance of provincial taxpayers understanding the basic reality of the province’s financial situation.
He refers to the provincial government’s 10-year sustainability plan for budgeting as “balanced” and “flexible,” repeatedly highlighting the importance of the latter, considering the changes that might come politically and economically over time.
“The plan is evolutionary,…
With an expected increase in demand for labour in the province, Budget 2013 will provide $5.2 million to support apprenticeship and trades.
The budget documents also state the provincial government will develop new approaches for educational upgrading and employment supports that will help people find employment — including measures to change the current delivery model for Adult Basic Education and modify the Income Support program.
“With a demand for skilled labour fueled by massive developments … we must work to ensure a strong labour force is available to meet all future demand,” said Joan Shea, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills.
A budget document notes that major project developments, such as Hebron and Muskrat Falls, are driving opportunities and sustainable growth in the province. These projects are generating new employment opportunities and support economic growth.
The Hebron project is estimated to return approximately $23 billion to the provincial government and expected to provide 3,500 jobs at peak.
Employment generated from the building of Muskrat Falls and the transmission links will generate 3,100 direct jobs…
The provincial government’s budget has at least two items that could affect residents on the south coast’s isolated communities.
Ferry rates are going up 10 per cent across the board.
Looking to the longer term, the province is tripling assistance to residents who choose to move out of isolated communities.
Previously, residents in outports got $80,000 for a household, Plus a set amount for each family member up to a limit of $100,000
The new maximum a household could receive is $270,000.
Previously, to benefit from relocation assistance, everyone in an isolated community had to unanimously agree to shut down the community. According to the budget speech, the province would offer these benefits to communities where 90 per cent of residents vote to relocate.
Drivers who register their vehicles online will no longer get a discount. Among the many fee increases announced in Budget 2013, the province announced it is doing away with the 10 per cent discount, which it says was only brought in to encourage online registration which has grown to 60 per cent of all permit renewals.
The discount is gone as of April 1 so then drivers who pay online or at the Motor Vehicle Registration office will pay the same - $140 a year.
Eliminating the discount adds another $2.6 million a year to the provincial coffers. Seniors however will still get a 35 per cent discount online - but will now pay $91 a year.
Online discounts are also eliminated for recreational trailers and motorcycles.
The new fee for trailers will be $38, while motorcycles will cost $75 to register. The new fees for seniors registering a trailer are $24.70 and $48.75 for motorcycles.
Taxes are also going up on tobacco - 1.5 cents per cigarette, effective…
The provincial government’s $7.5 billion budget today confirmed anticipated news of hundreds of layoffs in the public sector, but also revised the projected deficit for 2013-14 from $1.6 billion down to $563.8 million.
The budget also announced that four current English-language school boards will see financial and administrative services amalgamated into one district office located in St. John’s.
There is also an increase to a number of fees on such items as tobacco, admission to historic sites and ferry rates. A 10 per cent reduction for online motor vehicle registration will be eliminated.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale will also reduce her cabinet by one minister to 15, and eliminate 10 executive officials from the public service (Executive officials are deputy ministers, assistant deputy ministers, executive directors, and their equivalents).
The government also announced a 10-year sustainability plan for the province. The plan sets out specific goals to ensure continued sound fiscal management over the long term with elimination of decificits and a return to a surplus budget in three years.
Some 120-150 managers are expected to come off the health care authorities's payrolls, Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy said Tuesday.
There will be 196 job losses in health care - across all four health authorities - as part of provincial cuts announced in the 2013 budget, Kennedy said Tuesday.
Asked to clarify, Kennedy and Sullivan weren't as specific about the actual manager losses, but said the vast majority of positions cut will be managerial.
Operational reviews - clinical and managerial will also take place at health authorities to find efficiencies, Health Minister Susan Sullivan said.
A request for proposals will go out for those reviews.
The job losses in health care are non-core jobs, Sullivan said. And it will take several months to figure out exactly which jobs go.
Sullivan said she has not had a conversation about amalgamating health care boards further.
"What we will do is those (managerial) reviews we talked about," Sullivan said.
"We believe we have to ensure the investments are sustainable investments."
Sullivan said health remains…
Newfoundland and Labrador will operate under two school boards as of September.
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…