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The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Conservatives stay the debt-building course #nlpoli

Budget 2015 offered absolutely no surprises.

On major areas the Conservatives continued their policy of spending more than the provincial treasury can afford.  That’s been their trade-mark since 2003 and it became etched in stone in 2009.

As SRBP forecast a couple of weeks ago, the Conservatives raised a modest amount of money through . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Conservatives stay the debt-building course #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Government Spending and the Economy – Again #nlpoli

A post last week offered a quick confirmation that, as finance minister Ross Wiseman said,  provincial government spending accounts for about 30% of the gross domestic product measured as spending.

A couple of people on Twitter took issue with that idea, apparently.  They also took issue, as it seems, with the contention around these parts . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Government Spending and the Economy – Again #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Spending Comparisons #nlpoli

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) released its annual summary of health care spending health care last week. This is a pretty basic collection of numbers that show how much money we spend on health care, whether it is from provincial, federal, or private sources.

The report made the news, as it always does.  . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Spending Comparisons #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Terry Paddon’s Report #nlpoli

If you want to understand what the provincial government’s audited financial statements really mean, you will have to skip Tom Marshall’s comments last week and look instead at the lengthy set of observations from the Auditor General released on Friday.

Paddon’s comments are especially important for two reasons.

First of all, Paddon is the former . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Terry Paddon’s Report #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Vibrant Unsustainable Super Energy Debt Warehouse #nlpoli

The Conservatives used to say that Newfoundland and Labrador was eastern North America’s energy warehouse.  Once Danny Williams ran for the hills and left Kathy Dunderdale in charge, she kicked everything up a notch.

Energy warehouse was too plain for Kathy, whose party ran on the slogan “New Energy” in the 2011 general election.

With . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Vibrant Unsustainable Super Energy Debt Warehouse #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The 2012 Public Accounts #nlpoli

There is always something interesting in the province’s audited financial statements and – sadly – it is often at odds with what the politicians have been saying.

On Tuesday, the provincial government released the audited statements for Fiscal Year 2012 (01 Apr 12 to 31 Mar 13) and they are no exception.

(Read more…)

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Political Will and Public Policy #nlpoli

The SIDI simulation of government spending that we’ve run this past week might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but these sort of thought exercises are always useful.

The most striking thing is the amount of money from oil and mining that the provincial government has spent in the past seven years:  $15.6 billion.  That’s . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Political Will and Public Policy #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Responsible Public Spending #nlpoli

You don’t need drugs or alcohol to get the feeling of dizziness or stupor like you smacked your head with a hammer. Hard. Repeatedly.

Just listen to a representative of one of the special interest groups talking about the provincial budget and public spending. It doesn’t matter which one.  As your humble e-scribbler was finishing . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Responsible Public Spending #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Road Not Taken #nlpoli

The number is a hard one to wrap your mind around.

$15.6 billion.

That’s the amount of oil royalties and mining royalties the provincial government collected from 2005 to 2012.

Once you think you have that figure in your mind and understand what it means, think about this:  with the exception of about $1.4 billion, . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Road Not Taken #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Oil Revenues, Surpluses, and Deficits #nlpoli

The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour hired the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives to issue a report on the upcoming provincial budget that basically says all the things that labour federation boss Lana Payne has been tweeting for weeks.

Here’s what the report’s author said in a news release from CCPA:

“The province’s economic . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Oil Revenues, Surpluses, and Deficits #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Structural Versus Cyclical: a quick look #nlpoli

Is the government facing a structural or cyclical deficit?

Good question.  Their economist says it is a structural problem but his comments to the Telegram on March 13 suggest he is approaching the problem as if it would sort itself out.

The whole structural versus cyclical question hinges in part on the question of . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Structural Versus Cyclical: a quick look #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Arse that Laid the Golden Turd #nlpoli

The provincial cabinet has been burning the midnight oil the past couple of nights. 

Literally. 

Late night sessions that ended God-knows-when, night after night.

Apparently, they are trying to figure out what to do in order to get out of the massive financial and political hole they have dug for themselves over the . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Arse that Laid the Golden Turd #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: If the next two years are bad… #nlpoli

No surprise that on the day after natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy talked about looming deficits of pre-1934 proportions that the ruling Conservatives did two things.

First, backbencher Paul Lane reinterpreted Kennedy’s comments on VOCM Open Line with Randy Simms.  There will only be big deficits, says Lane, if we don’t do anything about it.  . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: If the next two years are bad… #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Where the Money Comes From #nlpoli

Just to put the provincial government budget in perspective, here are the top five sources of cash that come into the treasury from what are considered the province’s own sources.

This table is based on the Estimates for Budget 2012.  Oil royalties are the major source of revenue by quite a margin.  They make . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Where the Money Comes From #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Return of the Public Accounts Committee #nlpoli

Supporters of the current governing party like to talk about how theirs is the most open, accountable and transparent government of all time.

Problem for them is that they cannot prove it.

Those of us who don’t believe that claim have a distinct advantage:  we can offer solid evidence about the the current lack of . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Return of the Public Accounts Committee #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Fiscal conservative, you say? #nlpoli

One of the more curious comments from provincial Conservative supporters lately has been the claim that they support the current Connie administration provincially because they – the supporters – are fiscal conservatives.

labradore has already challenged one such claim with a look at the provincial labour force figures.  Here’s the chart from labradore’s post. It . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Fiscal conservative, you say? #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Trouble near mill: the Corner Brook hospital #nlpoli

The 2012 provincial budget includes $1.4 billion in capital works but none of it is apparently connected to two hospitals..

How long should it take to start construction work on a new hospital? That’s a really good question. 

For the provincial Conservatives in Newfoundland and Labrador, six years is not enough.

They announced money . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Trouble near mill: the Corner Brook hospital #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Budget-Spending Disconnection #nlpoli

The provincial government announced on Wednesday that they will spend $2.0 million to fund new child care spaces across the province.

Through Budget 2012, the Provincial Government remains committed to providing affordable, accessible and quality child care services throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Today, the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services, announced . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: The Budget-Spending Disconnection #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: All they want is fairity #nlpoli

The people who run the province’s town and cites are looking to get a new financial arrangement from the provincial government.

Last week, the municipalities federation held an emergency meeting to discuss recent developments:

“What we’re asking government for today is very clear,” said Rogers. “Short-term help in this 2012 budget and a commitment to . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: All they want is fairity #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: To Encourage the Others #nlpoli

Lots of people look to leaders in a crisis to see what lessons they can learn.

Well, Kathy Dunderdale is special.

She is an excellent  example for any leader – political or not – who wants to know how not to handle a major financial problem.

The Telegram editorial on Wednesday does an excellent job . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: To Encourage the Others #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Dundernomics 101: Public Sector Employment Numbers #nlpoli

In an interview with CBC’s David Cochrane, Premier Kathy Dunderdale said that the public service has grown by more than 2,100 jobs in the past eight years and that total employment in the public service is about 9,000.

Well, not exactly.  That depends on what you consider to be public sector and “public service”.

As . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Dundernomics 101: Public Sector Employment Numbers #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: He said. She said. “Expenditure review” edition #nlpoli

Starve reporters for real news and you can apparently make them believe anything.

That seems to be the case with the idea that Kathy Dunderdale’s Tories plan to actually cut public spending in the province in the coming fiscal year.

Unprecedented surpluses sitting in the bank. 

Forecasts for continued high revenues.

And now we . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: He said. She said. “Expenditure review” edition #nlpoli

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Cost over-runs and delays in Placentia #nlpoli

On Monday,  the provincial public works department put a limit on the size of trucks that can go over the left bridge at Placentia.

This came after someone inspected the bridge.

Interestingly enough,  the same department had a tender call out last May to replace the bridge they just put restrictions on.

A few months . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Cost over-runs and delays in Placentia #nlpoli