The NDP authorized $1.3 billion dollars to be spent Thursday, enough to last the province through to Oct. 31.
The province had been in a state of financial limbo. The Progressive Conservatives were defeated before their budget could pass and departments are only allowed to spend a certain amount without a new budget.
Sooner or later the province would have run out of money to spend. To solve the problem the NDP cabinet issued a special warrant allowing a billion dollars of new spending.
That includes $250 million for new capital projects. But the money is all just what the province is allowed to spend. Specific projects have not been decided.
“Today’s announcement is about capacity, giving the departments the authority that the money will be available if they need it,” said Finance Minister Graham Steele. “It doesn’t mean that any particular decision on any particular project has been made.”
All departments sent in estimates of how much they would need to make it through to the fall when a new budget is expected. Extra room was given so the province could leverage stimulus money from the federal government.
“We’re trying to avoid the situation where a project that we want to approve can’t be approved simply because there’s not enough legal authority to spend that amount of money,” Steele said.
It’s still not known how much of the Progressive Conservative’s Building for Growth stimulus plan will be adopted by the NDP. The Tories say they’re worried previously announced projects will be dropped.
“Until we know what it is they’re all in jeopardy,” said interim Tory leader Karen Casey.
“Obviously somebody’s going to make a new plan. We don’t know what’s in that. So it may include some of ours, it may not.”