FREDERICTON, N.B. — A surplus more than $48 million better than projected means New Brunswickers will enjoy a $81.8-million surplus for the fiscal year 2000-01.
Finance Minister Norm Betts recently announced the results while releasing the province’s audited financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31.
Opposition leader Bernard Richard harshly put an end to the praise of the ruling government’s fiscal management by criticizing the province for sitting on so much money while residents are losing their lives on two-lane highways.
Monday, Betts told reporters that a strong economy resulted in a much higher surplus, which was put toward the province’s net debt. He says the surplus is the result of a strong economy in general and several large projects in New Brunswick, including construction of the Fredericton to Moncton four-lane highway.
Richard described the situation as appalling. He questions why the Tory government didn’t build more four-lane highways with the $181 million.
“I mean it’s sinful, while young New Brunswickers are losing their lives, they (the Tories) were pleading poverty on their knees to Ottawa just about once a month and even last week … I am appalled actually, to learn this.”
Richard is surprised the Tory government’s budget predictions were so inaccurate.
“They are way off the projection. Either they have deliberately misled us or they didn’t have a clue,” he says. “I actually want to be fair with them. I think they don’t have a clue.”
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