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Realism trumps optimism following Newfoundland and Labrador fiscal update

Winston Howse, with his daughters Kelly (left) and Sarah (right).
Winston Howse, with his daughters Kelly (left) and Sarah (right). - Juanita Mercer

Several hours after Finance Minister Tom Osborne updated the province’s financial situation, The Telegram spoke with people in downtown St. John’s about whether the $135-million decrease in the projected deficit made them feel more optimistic about the province’s future, and what impact – if any – they think it will have on their household finances.

“I think all the oil revenues, for now anyway, get Muskrat Falls paid off and we should be back up on top again. Everybody holds a deficit – even me, I have my own deficit. I do feel good about the future. These are my daughters, so I’ve got to look forward to them down the road. Things are improving, and we’re always optimistic people. I think it will turn around.”

– Winston Howse

Earl Norman.
Earl Norman.

“When I think about the current situation in St. John’s, I’m not really optimistic. I look at the restaurants and the struggles they have. During the summer, it’s busy – as it should be – and on weekends, it’s busy – so, it’s easy to walk into the restaurants and think that people are doing well. I think Tom Osborne made a comment recently that you can’t get into a restaurant in St. John’s, and that’s true enough in the summer, but it’s the long winter months that make it incredibly difficult for small businesses. … No, I’m not optimistic because I’m on the business side and I see the day-to-day challenges that many small businesses have downtown. I wish I were more optimistic, but I’m more realistic.”

– Earl Norman

Related story:

Increased petroleum prices bring down Newfoundland and Labrador deficit

Sarah Downey.
Sarah Downey.

“I work in the health care field, and I see the costs rising there. I’m a nurse – staff shortages everywhere, we’re spending more on overtime than we have full-time nurse positions – it’s just crazy. … I’m a single mom working full time, trying to do my best, but I don’t see the government helping my situation at all.”

– Sarah Downey

Brandon Whelan.
Brandon Whelan.

“It’s kind of nice to see that little bit of a rainbow coming out. When you’re pinching for pennies, 200 million dollars (less borrowed) is not that bad, so I can see that being a good thing. … It does make it a little bit better to live in Newfoundland, but you won’t really see those benefits. It’s kind of like looking in your couch and finding $20 – it’s nice, and you feel awesome, but it doesn’t really change your whole budgetary stance on everything. It doesn’t really affect us.”

– Brandon Whelan

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