The provincial budget will be read in the House of Assembly next week. Much of the document has been prepared by Finance Minister Charlene Johnson who was handed the job after then minister Tom Marshall was punted into the job as premier with the resignation of Kathy Dunderdale.
As always, the contents of the budget are mostly secret — except for the details the government wants to become public — but one thing is for certain, it won’t be as contentious as Budget 2013.
That document included layoffs of hundreds of government workers, program cuts and other money-saving manoeuvers.
The ruling Tories did save some money but they paid dearly for their ill-conceived frugalness. Taxpayers were riled by the fallout from the cuts and recoiled when those civil servants losing their jobs told their sad stories to the province’s news media.
Many of those losing their jobs were young, with young families, in debt with mortgages and other investments we can all relate to.
Public protests and marches kept the issue in front of voters well into the summer.
That won’t happen this spring, it’s almost certain.
The Tories are heading into a leadership race in July that will spur a general election by at the latest July 2015.
Many think, with good reason, it will be as early as this fall as the new premier tries to paper over past failings and puts his own stamp on the PC party. The contents of this budget won’t be directed by the next premier but it will have a big impact on him when he starts looking for votes in an attempt to stay in power.
The issue of cutting costs won’t occupy much time budget day, even if it should.