N.B. finance minister sports muddy work boots, offers few hints on eve of budget release – Global News

New Brunswick Finance Minister Ernie Steeves will unveil the 2022-23 provincial budget Tuesday afternoon.

Until then, he is offering just a few vague hints at what to expect.

Opting for a muddy pair of work boots over the traditional pair of new shoes on the eve of the announcement, Steeves teased “something for everyone.”

“The work boots I’m wearing today, which are drop-dead sexy first of all… but these boots have gotten us this far, and they continue to get us through as we build our success in the years ahead,” Steeves says, offering a glimpse at the document titled Building on Success.

“This year I have a budget that I want to deliver and that New Brunswick needs — and I believe that New Brunswick wants.”

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This is the fourth budget Steeves will deliver as finance minister, teasing increased spending and revenues up one to two per cent.

The province’s Official Opposition, however, cautioned New Brunswickers to take that — and all numbers unveiled tomorrow — with a grain of salt.

“I don’t believe the budget will be worth the paper it’s written on,” says Liberal Finance Critic Rob McKee.

“No matter what they present to us, we’ve lost confidence in their ability to properly forecast and show reliable information in terms of what they present.”

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick border town prepares for looser restrictions'

New Brunswick border town prepares for looser restrictions

New Brunswick border town prepares for looser restrictions

McKee points to substantial surpluses over the past two years — most recently close to $409 million.

He asks how we can be sure the province’s PC government will actually use what it allots in the legislature Tuesday.

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“They’re heroes tomorrow when they announce investments but then they’re heroes at the end of the year when they haven’t spent what they promised and they’re patting themselves on the back for a record surplus,” says McKee.

He says he does hope to hear spending planned in the education sector and on youth mental health, with students losing still more class time over the winter due to COVID-19.

Housing and health care, meanwhile, are on the wish list of all three opposition parties in the house.

“With a surplus exceeding $400 million, this budget is an excellent opportunity for government to provide resources to much needed areas,” says People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin in a statement sent to Global News.

The 2022-23 budget will be unveiled at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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