Today in the House of Assembly, NDP caucus members continued questioning government ministers on Budget 2017. NDP MHAs Lorraine Michael (St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) and Gerry Rogers (St. John’s Centre) probed a budget number which appears to point to massive layoffs, and asked about economic indicators.
“Yesterday we tried to get the Minister of Finance to tell the people of the province important details about her budget that she did not include in the budget speech. Today we will continue to try to get answers on the record in this House for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador – so that they get the whole story,” said Michael.
“Schedule III attached to last week’s budget speech showed a drop of more than $400 million in salaries and employee benefits.
“After adjusting for one-time items and previously announced management layoffs, what is the net reduction in funding for salaries and employee benefits? How many public employees will have to be laid off in order to achieve this level of savings?”
Rogers asked about projected job losses. “The Minister was unable or reluctant to answer questions in the House yesterday on the forecasted unemployment rate for this province,” she said.
“I ask the Minister, would she stand and tell the people of the province the projected unemployment rate for 2021, and explain why that rate will grow so much over the next 5 years?”
Rogers added, “I ask the Minister, how does she expect the economy to recover when people are suffering, their incomes are declining, and all but one of the taxation measures from Budget 2016 remain in effect?”