FREDERICTON, N.B. – New Brunswick’s premier is musing about the possibility of holding a referendum on increasing the HST before the next election, an idea that analysts say would come with huge political risks.

David Alward’s government is examining all options as it faces a worsening financial picture and a deficit that has doubled to $411-million.

Political observer Don Desserud says going to a referendum could be seen as a government weakness.

“As much as the public wants to be part of the decision process and want to have a democratic voice, the problem is always going to be balanced by the fact that what the public really wants is for the government to lead and show leadership.”

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs has presented other options for increasing revenues, including raising personal and corporate income taxes.