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Ball celebrates N.L.'s credit rating stability despite Crosbie predictions

Premier Dwight Ball
Premier Dwight Ball

On Friday morning, the provincial government issued a news release celebrating credit rating agency Moody’s holding steady with the Newfoundland and Labrador rating.

Ches Crosbie.

This is in addition to the Dominion Bond Rating Service and S&P previously holding steady on their credit ratings.

All this is a bit of a blow to the prognosticating powers of Ches Crosbie, who boldly predicted back in April that the province’s credit rating would take a hit as a consequence of the provincial budget.

Crosbie is pursuing the leadership of the PC Party, and he believes the government is spending far too much money.

“I will go out on a limb and predict that the budget delivered on April 6, 2017 will result in a credit rating downgrade,” Crosbie said back in April.

This week, Premier Dwight Ball said that the stable credit rating is a vote of confidence for the Liberal government’s financial plan.
“A lot of people have kind of written this province — people like Ches Crosbie have written this province off,” he said.

“You know, I knew that what people like would be basically just stable management within our province, and we’ve been demonstrating that with our budget. And Ches at the time was suggesting that we really needed to lay off, I guess, what, thousands of people?”

Ball said that he acknowledges there’s a spending problem, but you can’t cut spending too fast or it’ll wreck the economy.

Crosbie told the Telegram that even though he was wrong in his prediction, the stable credit rating isn’t exactly a good thing.

“The bottom line is that the credit rating agencies are enabling the Liberal government to borrow money that our children have to pay back,” he said.

“Mr. Ball himself told us last year that we’re in the midst of a fiscal crisis. Just because bond-rating agencies didn’t give us a downgrade doesn’t mean that fiscal crisis has somehow gone away. It still exists. Nothing has changed, except that the Liberals have piled on unsustainable taxes.”

Crosbie partially denied that he wants to lay off thousands of public sector workers if he becomes premier.

“We have inefficient service delivery. We don’t need that many public servants,” Crosbie said. “So ways have to be found to deal with that. And that’s by no means a suggestion from me that thousands of people — as Mr. Ball says — must be laid off. There are other ways to tackle that problem.”

Crosbie suggested that the federal government might help with the problem, perhaps with some sort of “transitional assistance” program tied to equalization.

“If you’re innovative, if you take an outside-the-box approach to these problems, they’re not as simple as black-and-white cutting issues.”

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

 

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