New Brunswick's debt load will climb to an estimated 115 per cent of GDP over the next 25 years.
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, seems poised to follow through on a campaign promise to institute a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.
Over fifty years, observers have become inured to troubling reports of Atlantic Canada's economic difficulties.
Even the most jaundiced observer would recognize, however, that data for the last two years describes something different. The regional economy is not experiencing continued slow decline: it is starting to implode.
The recent native protests in New Brunswick against proposed hydraulic fracturing (fracking) are not only devoid of facts but harm the potential for prosperity and lower personal taxes. Add in the anti-fracking frothing in neighbouring Nova Scotia, and also in Quebec, and it adds up to ill-advised provincial policies, this despite the safety of fracking.
Before detailing the potential for a lighter personal income tax burden if more resource development was allowed, here are the facts on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas.
Last weeks provincial budget was a heap of bad news for New Brunswickers. First they learned that they will continue to be burdened by a government with shaky finances driven by annual deficits and mushrooming debt. Topping that off, Progressive Conservative Finance Minister Blaine Higgs proposed a series of highly damaging tax increases as a way out of New Brunswicks deep fiscal hole. Unfortunately, these tax hikes will cast a dark cloud over New Brunswicks economic prospects and likely bring little revenue in return.