The NDP plans to balance next year’s budget without raising taxes or making cuts.
But yesterday’s economic update from Deloitte seems to indicate that’s impossible, and Finance Minister Graham Steele only said the government hopes to stay out of debt without offering what actions would be taken.
“We always knew it was going to be tough and as a result of this report we now know it’s going to be even tougher,” Steele told reporters. “But nothing that I’ve seen as the minister of finance leads me to say that it is going to be impossible to balance the budget next year.”
But Steele wouldn’t reveal any specifics of the NDP budget, set to be released a week after the legislature resumes on Sept. 17. That had Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil demanding answers.
McNeil said Premier Darrell Dexter deliberately misled Nova Scotians during the election campaign in order to gain power.
“They’ve been out saying they’re going to balance the budget next year. They’re not going to increase taxes and they’re going to make no cuts. How are they going to do it?” McNeil asked reporters.
Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservatives were on the defensive after the report brought up several questions about their accounting after concluding the Tories raised spending based on revenues — mostly due to offshore — that were temporary and unsustainable.
The Deloitte report also painted a far worse picture than the Tories’ June 4 budget, which predicted a flat-lining of costs. This prompted Steele to say the Tories picked numbers they needed for a surplus “regardless of the fact that they were entirely and completely unrealistic.”
Interim PC Leader Karen Casey said Tory spending grew to provide Nova Scotians with programs they wanted and needed, adding the Tory budget predicted future increases in revenues and those predictions were based on the best information they had at the time.