FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2022
Third Party House Leader Gord McNeilly says the King government benefited from inflation, after it revealed yesterday a “surprise” $83.8 million surplus which it has sat on for months.
“The King government attributed the surplus to a strong economy, when in fact the extra money is coming from higher taxes paid on higher-priced goods caused by inflation,” said McNeilly. “Instead of providing systemic relief or significant investments in healthcare, for example, it announced cash giveaways to Islanders. It’s clear the Premier and his cabinet have no long-term plan, no strategy and no real fixes for PEI’s very real problems.”
Yesterday, the government revealed an $83.8 million surplus at the end of March 2022, even though the government forecasted a $26.5 million deficit in February – a projection that was off by $110.3 million.
Less than two hours after this news, the King government announced $58 million in “inflationary supports” for Islanders.
“The government would have – or should have – known about a surplus for some time, but instead of providing relief as soon as possible for the people of PEI, it waited until months before an expected election,” he said. “I can’t think of a more cynical move on the part of this government.”
While relief payments are beneficial at the individual level, McNeilly pointed out that same $58 million could have been used to lower provincial gas taxes, strengthen our healthcare system, or create more multiple affordable housing units.
McNeilly also criticized the short-sightedness of the government’s approach to fiscal management. “Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen the Premier announce a few hundred dollars here for some residents affected by Fiona, and a few hundred dollars there for some health care workers,” he said. “They are literally throwing money at the problem, instead of making significant investments to address the root causes of income disparity and housing shortages. Islanders have been reeling from the highest inflation rate in the country for a year. I know Islanders are smart and see through this weak attempt to hide this government’s incompetence and mismanagement of taxpayers’ money.”
James Ip, Director of Communications
Office of the Third Party
Legislative Assembly of PEI