I may have missed it but this is the first real story on the impact that Equalization changes will have on New Brunswick even though the new formula has been known for months. As I mentioned a few days ago, moving to a ‘per capita’ funding formula for Equalization could be a serious problem for New Brunswick. Over the past decade our population growth has been essentially zero while our Equalization payments are up hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Finance Minister says the focus needs to be on growing our population (particularly the younger population that doesn’t use as much health care). He’s correct because even if we don’t start down the road to ‘self-sufficiency’ – at least if the population is growing we would get more Equalization. Without economic or population growth, New Brunswick is in serious trouble from a fiscal capacity perspective by early next decade.