Source: Government of New Brunswick
Headline: More than $60 million in new investment announced to support families
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Premier Brian Gallant focused on new investments to support families as he closed debate on the 2017-18 budget in the legislature this morning.
“We are focused on growing the economy, strategically investing in education, and improving health care delivery,” said Gallant. “We are listening and, thanks to the hard work of New Brunswickers we are getting things done to advance the economy, education and health care.”
Gallant restated that the government has a clear vision for the province which includes sustained economic growth and having a balanced budget by 2020. At the same time, he said, the government will invest more in the education system and ensure New Brunswickers have access to solid health care.
Gallant highlighted the steps the government is taking to support families through its recently launched Family Plan Framework. The Family Plan will complement work already underway in the Economic Growth Plan and the 10-year education plans.
“In this budget, we have earmarked more than $60 million for new investments to support the Family Plan,” Gallant said. “Some of these initiatives will proceed with 100 per cent provincial funding, some of these will proceed thanks to federal support through our agreement on health care, home care and mental health, and some of these funds will be held pending ongoing negotiations with the federal government.”
He also said New Brunswick has been experiencing a positive economic growth trend, one that is expected to continue.
“The people of our province and New Brunswick businesses are working hard. In 2015, New Brunswick experienced the third-best economic growth among the Canadian provinces, and the highest level of growth since 2004,” said Gallant. “In addition, there are projections of continued economic growth in New Brunswick into 2017, the third consecutive year of growth.”
“This budget reflects our collective values and recognizes that jobs, education and health care are closely linked,” said Gallant. “We appreciate the collaboration of the many New Brunswickers that have participated in helping develop our economic, education and family plans.”
Highlights from the 2017-18 budget include:
- The government will continue to freeze MLA salaries for the ninth consecutive year. The premier and cabinet salaries have been cut by 15 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.
- The government is increasing the budget of the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture by 17.6 per cent, and will create a comprehensive tourism strategy. Additional investments will also be made over the next three years to undertake important upgrades to assets of cultural and historic significance.
- To support business, effective April 1, 2017 the Small Business Corporate Income Tax rate will be lowered from 3.5 per cent to three per cent, the third consecutive reduction in the small business rate.
- The government has committed nearly $2.5 million to enhance population growth efforts.
- To protect the forest sector, the government will invest nearly $2 million to combat the threat of spruce budworm.
- Supporting the 10-year education plans, the province is investing an extra $56 million into the education budget this year, an increase of $103 million since 2014-15. This represents an increase of 4.9 per cent which represents the largest increase since 2008-09.
- Understanding the importance of early childhood education, the government will double the budget of the daycare assistance program effective Jan. 1, 2018, to help New Brunswickers pay for the cost of daycare.
- The government will secure an additional $45 million over four years to invest in publicly- funded universities. The government has also set aside money for a new program to provide tuition relief for the middle class.
- The government is earmarking a $7 million per year investment in literacy programming for both children and adults. A comprehensive literacy strategy will be released shortly.
- The government is investing an additional $2.4 million in preschool autism interventions, over and above the $1.4 million provided to this program in last year’s budget.
- Thanks to a partnership with the federal government, this year’s budget for health care is increasing by 3.3 per cent, bringing the budget for the Department of Health to $2.657 billion for the year 2017-18. This is the largest increase since 2010-11.
- The government will be investing $58.2 million for construction, maintenance and improvements to the network of nursing homes across the province over the next three years.
- The government will introduce legislation this session to better protect against domestic and intimate partner violence. New funding to support this legislation will further ensure that our most vulnerable are protected.