What’s in the 1997/98 budget?
Here are the highlights from the GNWT’s $1.15 billion dollar budget, unveiled this week in Yellowknife:
For the first time in four years, the finance minister is projecting that the government’s books will go from the red to black with a projected surplus of $8.9 million.
About 80 per cent of the government’s money will come from the federal government, and only 13.3 per cent of the budget comes from NWT tax revenues.
No new taxes.
The government’s own deficit projections for the 1996/97 fiscal year will be about $5 million less than projected.
The accumulated debt – reached by adding up the yearly deficits that have been piling up since 1994 – is now expected to drop to about $57 million by March 31, 1998.
The government will cut another $100 million in spending in 1997/98, including more job cuts and layoffs.
The proposed amalgamation of the departments of public works and services, transportation and the NWT Housing Corporation has been shelved, and no further government amalgamations are planned.
Spending on early childhood intervention will increase, and the government will invest in a special treatment-program for youth suffering from addictions.
$1.5 million will be spent to train and support staff in communities who supervise offenders on probation.
The GNWT has set aside $2 million to help push its community empowerment plan.
Unsold GNWT staff housing units that aren’t needed for employees will be turned over to the NWT Housing Corporation to be used to meet social housing needs.
The government hopes to attract as much as $21 million in foreign investment money through an immigrant investment program. The government’s $300,000 investment to start the Aurora Fund is supposed to be repaid by March 31, 1998.
The GNWT will spend $500,000 for the community futures programs for small business loans and another $500,000 for the NWT Development Corporation to market northern arts and crafts outside the NWT.