NWT wrapping up stimulus funding by 2012
Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 5:50 PM
Finance Minister Michael Miltenberger unveiled the budget Thursday, pointing out that with federal funding, the GNWT will have invested $1.1 billion over three years on infrastructure projects, in what he calls an unprecedented level of investment.
"It's a figure that has never before been contemplated in the life of the Northwest Territories. This is the biggest infrastructure program that's ever come out of the Northwest Territories."
The Finance Dept. estimates the territorial GDP grew 2.8 per cent in 2010 and will go up another 1.2 per cent in 2011, but the GNWT also plans to borrow more over the next two years.
That includes $64 million this year and another $155 million in 2012 for infrastructure projects like school replacements, highway and road repairs, and upgrades to GNWT buildings.
Miltenberger said the spending trend must end there and is putting a cap on capital investment at $75 million a year by 2012.
"While we are making some progress in terms of the recovery, it's still an extremely fragile economic situation, so the budget we put forward today is an appropriate budget for the time."
The Dept. is touting nearly $17 million in new investments, including $2.7 million for new energy initiatives, such as mini hydro projects and biomass, as well as funds to re-evaluate the territory's greenhouse gas strategy.
It also includes $1 million to extend the Tourism 2010 program to 2015, and $925,000 to create the Small Community Employment Program to support short-term skills development in communities with weaker economies.
This year's $1.34 billion budget includes no new taxes, but as of April 1st, rates on property taxes, tobacco and liquor mark-ups will be adjusted to reflect inflation.
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