Baillie makes Truro stop during pre-election tour
© HARRY SULLIVAN - TRURO DAILY NEWS
Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie was in Truro on Wednesday as part of his pre-election Jobs and Economy Tour.
TRURO – A Progressive Conservative government would lower the HST and create up to 20,000 jobs in its first term, party leader Jamie Baillie says.
In Truro on Wednesday as part of his Jobs and Economy Tour, in anticipation of an impending provincial election call, Baillie said a recent forecast by the NDP government that it will realize an $18.3-million surplus this year is simply not accurate.
“First of all it’s not balanced,” he said of the government’s budget predictions. “And I’m not just saying that as an opposition leader, I’m a chartered accountant.”
The sheer fact that Darrell Dexter’s government recorded the annual funding for two universities on last year’s books instead of in this year’s figures is evidence the books aren’t truly balanced, he said.
“That’s $35 million. That’s twice the surplus they’re reporting, so it’s not balanced. And I believe the time has come for open and honest accounting of the state of the province. Then we can make good decisions about what to do with the resources that we have,” Baillie said.
“And it certainly doesn’t take into account the wave of spending on top of spending that has been going on the last few weeks as the NDP ramps up for an election.”
While some funding announcements by the NDP in recent weeks may well be “worthwhile programs,” he said, the actions don’t make sense given that Nova Scotians have been told for the past four years there was no money to spend.
“To me, Nova Scotians should look at the record of the last four years, not just the last few weeks,” Baillie said. “Nova Scotia has become a very expensive place for people to live. We pay a billion dollars more a year in taxes, in total a thousand dollars more each, in taxes, in HST and income tax under the NDP.”
The current government has also added almost $2 billion to “our already too high provincial debt,” he said, while schools are being closed and some hospital emergency rooms are struggling to stay open.
“That’s why it’s time to change the way the province is run,” said Baillie, who promised that a government under his leadership would reduce the HST by two cents and save $60 million in health-care costs by reducing the number of health authorities from 10 to three, while also cutting high-level health management positions.
“When I talk about wasteful spending I point to things like the 10 CEOs and 72 vice-presidents, 152 executive directors and thousands of managers in our health-care system,” he said. “That’s why the PC plan is to cut back on all those layers of health bureaucracy and put that money back to use in our health system at the front lines where people need it."