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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CFIB Finds Provincial Budget Impressive Overall

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business find the provincial budget impressive overall.
Andreea Bourgeois tells CHSJ News they like the government's plan to cut spending by 1.6 per cent over the next year.
She says they see a plan to get back to a balanced position by 2014-2015 which is fairly short-term and they have seen a decrease in the small business tax rate--both positive things for small businesses.    Bourgeois expects a mixed reaction from small business owners because of tax increases which the CFIB's believes will take away their competitive advantage.

Board of Trade Okay With Provincial Budget

The Saint John Board of Trade is giving the provincial budget a thumbs up calling it a good start to balancing the books with a projected deficit of 449 million dollars. 

Board of Trade Chair Micheal Murphy is happy with tax rates for corporation falling to 10 per cent and 4.5 per cent for small businesses.

Murphy does say the provincial government will eventually have to get a handle on healthcare spending in order to balance the books or achieve a surplus. Provincial Finance Minister Blaine Higgs concedes he didn't have enough time prior to this budget to tackle that aspect of government spending.

The Board of Trade had called for an increase in the H-S-T which was rejected by the province.

Not Enough Cuts In Provincial Budget Says Watchdog Group

 Kevin Lacey with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation isn't all smiles when it comes to the provincial budget.

He tells CHSJ News he doesn't agree with Finance Minister Blaine Higgs when he claims it's a balanced budget.

He says the burden of the deficit is now on the taxpyer thanks to the increase to the gas tax and this budget features even more spending than the last one. 

However, Lacey says he is happy that the Conservatives held the line on the HST and made some cuts to civil service.

Budget Highlights

(Budget Highlights)

*Tobacco taxes up as of midnight - $10.50 on a carton of smokes

*Gas and diesel taxes up just under 3-cents a litre as of midnight

*Slight reduction in small business corporate tax effective January 1st

*Corporate tax reduced to 10-percent and held for 2012

*No increase in personal income taxes for low and middle income in 2011 while high income earners will see their tax break effective at the beginning of this year eliminated in July

*Looking for increased profits from NB Liquor - no tax increase on booze

*The freeze on university and college tuitions eliminated and tuition increases capped at 200-dollars

*Creation of a new teaching supplies fund that will allow teachers to purchase educational items for their classrooms

*A 50-dollar increase in the school supplies supplement for low income families

*Initial funding for a mental health services action plan - a comprehensive diabetes program - and - assistance for people with Multiple Sclerosis

Higgs Says He's Taking A Balanced Approach

You may want to make a quick run to the corner gas bar this evening -- the Alward government is taking aim at smokes and gas in its war on the provincial deficit.

The gas tax is going up just under 3-cents a litre at midnight while tobacco tax increases will see a carton of cigarettes costing $10.50 more after midnight.

In response to a CHSJ News question - Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says he doesn't think the gas tax hike will have a negative impact on the economy.

The Finance Minister is also expecting increased revenue from N-B Liquor but it won't be through higher taxes on beer and spirits.

Higgs also wants to look at whether we have too many schools for the current student population -- and -- if there are better ways to use space in the buildings.

The Province Revealing Budget Details

The Alward government is projecting a $448.8 million in a 8 billion dollar spending program.The share of the debt for every man, woman and child in New Brunswick is about $13,545.

The tobacco tax will be increased by $1.31 per pack, effective at midnight, producing an estimated $25 million in additional revenue.

The provincial gasoline tax will increase by 2.9 cents a litre and diesel by 2.3 cents a litre, generating an extra $44 million in revenue.

Brunswick Square and Delta Getting Revamped

Brunswick Square and the Delta will be getting a face-lift with Fortis Properties announcing millions of dollars in renovations.

Work will begin on the exterior of the building which will include upgrades to the main entrance and landscaping.  There will also be improvements made to the inside of the building including new flooring and lighting.

The exterior renovations will be completed by the end of the summer.

Panty Thief In Court Today

A 20 year old Grand Bay Westfield man in court for two counts of break, enter and thefts relating to two incidents in the town where women's panties were taken.
Corey Douglas McKenzie also facing a charge of breaking probation.
He will remain in jail and undergo a 5 day psychiatric assessment and is due back in court on March 29th.
The break and enters occurring in the town between this past Sunday and last Thursday.

Student Receives Punishment For Threatening To Kill Everyone At KVHS

An 18-year-old student receiving his sentence for threatening to kill everyone at KVHS on his last day of school.  The court in Hampton hearing today that Cody Barton called the school's principal Robert Munro last February 16th 
telling him to have everyone out of the school by 1:30 in the afternoon.
CHSJ's Brian McLain tells us 1200 students were evacuated and every room searched.  Barton told police it was all a joke and he had no intention of carrying it through.    Judge Henrik Tonning telling Barton today it was time to grow up before handing him a suspended sentence and probation. Judge Tonning did say Barton is doing well at his new school in Belleisle.  Barton must also write a letter of apology to former KV High Principal Robert Munro.

Police Investigate Link Between An Abduction And A Head-On Crash

City police are investigating a possible link between a fatal head-on collision last night near Sussex and an abduction in East Saint John yesterday.

The Major Crime Unit is investigating the abduction of a 44-year-old woman which they call an isolated incident.
The suspect is her 45-year-old estranged boyfriend. She was treated in hospital for injuries and released.

The Major Crime Unit is working in conjunction with the RCMP in Sussex to determine if there is a link between the abduction and a head on collision near Roachville last night.
The victim of that crash has yet to be identified.

Panty Thief Nabbed

RCMP nabbing the panty thief in Grand Bay-Westfield.

A 20-year-old man from the town facing charges in connection with two separate break and enters where women’s undergarments were stolen.

The break and enters occurring last Thursday and on Sunday near Inglewood Drive and Epworth Park Road.

The man will appear in Hampton Provincial Court today.
RCMP continue to remind people to lock their homes, sheds, garages and vehicles to help prevent crime.

Roachville Crash Kills One

A head-on collision on Route 10 in Roachville last night killing one man.
The crash occurring when the victim's vehicle crossed the centre line and collided head-on with a pulp truck and both vehicles caught on fire.
The pulp truck driver escaping the crash with minor injuries. The driver of the other vehicle died at the scene.

Because of the intense fire, police have not yet been able to positively identify the victim.  An autopsy is being performed and the vehicle is being inspected.
The crash closing Route 10 for five hours.

APEC Sounds Warning For Alward Government

The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council says the Alward government is facing a tough battle to get provincial finances in order.

As Finance Minister Blaine Higgs gets set to deliver his first budget this afternoon -- the council says the province must increase revenues while cutting expenses to begin getting finances back on track.

It's suggesting a two percent increase in the H-S-T -- something already ruled out by Premier Alward and Higgs.

The council also suggests introducing or raising user fees -- but -- it's also warning highway tolls are not the revenue pot-o-gold that some people have suggested.

Taxpayers Federation Says We're Tapped Out

The Atlantic Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Kevin Lacey is keeping a close eye on the budget details when the provincial government unveils it this afternoon.

He tells CHSJ News one of the things he would like to see happen is a major cut to spending which is being called for, as well, by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.He is also rejecting a call to raise taxes as New Brunswickers cannot afford to pay anymore.

The current provincial deficit is over 800-million dollars and Lacey claims the debt increases almost 95-thousand dollars per hour.

 Both Premier David Alward and Provincial Finance Minister Blaine Higgs have confirmed the H-S-T will not be rising.