Blame deficit on government

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Editor: The provincial government is blaming the deficit on the public sector pension plan. However, after last year’s major pension reforms, plan members are now paying more for a smaller pension. The P.E.I. Auditor General’s Report of 2014 shows that government’s pension reform reduces benefits by up to $531 million.  Government planned these cuts and is relying on them to ultimately achieve a balanced budget in 2016.

The government does not want to accept responsibility for the financial situation of the province. They institute major cuts to the provincial pension plan, under budget for pension expenses in the current year, and then point the finger at those who hold a pension. At the same time, they also overestimate how much money the HST is bringing in by $9 million.

The provincial government’s budget estimate for public pensions in 2012-2013 was for approximately $50 million. So why would they only estimate pension costs at half that amount in 2013-14? They underestimated pension costs for the current year and then used the pension as a scapegoat when the actual numbers came to light.

The real story is that government has reduced the benefits of over 13,000 pension holders by up to 29 per cent and is saving half a billion dollars. It’s not fair or accurate to then blame the current deficit solely on the public pension.

- Debbie Bovyer, President, P.E.I. Union of Public Sector

Organizations: P.E.I. Union of Public Sector

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