Generous N.L. budget puts province deeper in the red

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:40 PM ET

A generous Newfoundland and Labrador budget will replace student loans with grants, fund full-day kindergarten and increase benefits for the poor and the elderly.

The government will replace provincial student loans with grants that don't have to be repaid, as well as maintain the tuition freeze in place since 1999.

The province will also increase tax benefits and income support for seniors and low-income people.

Finance Minister Charlene Johnson touted "shared prosperity" as one of the budget's three pillars, along with "fair society" and "balanced outlook."

"Shared prosperity is about ensuring that we work together to grow our economy responsibly; it is also about ensuring that residents share fully and equally in the wealth generated from our province's recent economic growth," she said.

"Our commitment to a fair society is a commitment to social justice -- to care for those who are vulnerable and to support those who face obstacles to growth."

But shared prosperity comes at a cost. The budget forecasts a net debt of $9.8 billion, up from $807.6 million.


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