Newfoundland & Labrador Premiers and Provincial Government Spending

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Newfoundland & Labrador Premiers and Provincial Government Spending


  • Per-person inflation-adjusted program spending is a key measure of government fiscal policy. With comparable data going back to 1965, we are able to compare different historical periods as well as the tenures of various premiers of Newfoundland & Labrador.
  • From 1965 to 2021, per-person spending increased substantially over the 56-year period— from $3,072 (in 2021 inflation-adjusted dollars) to $15,019.
  • Premier Joey Smallwood stands out as the premier who increased spending the most of any Newfoundland & Labrador premier since 1965. Smallwood’s 14.3 percent average annual change in per person spending is substantially higher than the premier with the next largest increase, Danny Williams, at 7.8 percent. The next highest-spending premiers are Frank Moores (4.8 percent), Roger Grimes (3.2 percent), and Brian Tobin (2.3 percent).
  • Premiers Paul Davis (1.0 percent), and Clyde Wells (0.5 percent) increased spending by comparatively small amounts during their times in office. Premiers Brian Peckford, with an increase of 0.2 percent, Andrew Furey, with a decrease of 0.1 percent, and Dwight Ball, with a decrease of 0.2 percent, presided over spending levels which were essentially flat.
  • Kathy Dunderdale, at -1.5 percent, and Tom Marshall, at -1.9 percent, are the only premiers who reduced spending by a meaningful amount during their tenure (though it should be noted that Marshall is only allocated one fiscal year).

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