Our Election Question - Press Release
July 27, 2014 | 10160 Comments
The New Brunswick Business Council wants frank and frugal election campaign
Fredericton, NB (July 28, 2014) – Over the past few months, members of the New Brunswick Business Council met with the leaders of each political party to share ideas for our province’s next four years of government.
“The New Brunswick Business Council strongly encouraged the political parties in the Province to discuss in detail with citizens the problem of our deficit,” said CEO Susan Holt. “We all want investments made to improve our health, education and social systems, but those investments aren’t practical until we reduce our debt.”
The Business Council believes that a combination of both tax increases and serious program cuts are necessary to bring revenues and expenditures into balance. “We know it’s hard for political parties to discuss tax increases and program cuts during a political campaign, and we appreciate it takes political courage, but given the gravity of our financial situation, as the Business Council we don’t see where any responsible leadership has any choice. We want to see a frank and open discussion on what the parties intend to do,” says Holt.
Members of the Business Council are calling on New Brunswickers to ask their candidates and MLAs when and how they will balance the budget. Ask them how much their new promises will cost. Ask them what savings they will achieve and what tax increases they will support. Let’s reward politicians and parties that provide clear, realistic answers backed by sound calculations. Let’s reward the brave women and men who acknowledge that we cannot continue on this path, and who put forward tax increases and spending cuts that we can live with.
The Council notes that the market is presently in a period of very low interest rates, and while we don’t know how long this period will last, history tells us that rates will go up at some point. When that happens, interest payments on the debt, which are currently the province’s third largest expense after health care and education, will absorb a bigger and bigger part of provincial spending and will crowd out programs that we all cherish.
“The time to discuss is now and the time to act is at hand. We believe that modern, creative solutions can be found to help our province return to balanced budgets and emerge stronger from this challenging period, with our social programs more secure” said Holt.
Additional suggestions from the Council include focusing on a small number of priorities, adopting technology to streamline and speed up government services, and aligning departments under a clear accountability model.
A copy of the full letter to political leaders issued by the Council can be found on our website here.
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