Chang­ing the bud­get process

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL - BY JOE AMELIA Joe Amelia of Cra­paud is a dis­trib­u­tor/ whole­saler in bio-tech­nol­ogy prod­ucts

I have been a firm be­liever for many years that P.E.I. is in an in­cred­i­ble po­si­tion to change the way they do their bud­get. I made this sug­ges­tion to Pat Mella when she was fi­nance min­is­ter many years ago, and there never was an an­swer as to why it couldn’t be done. I have sent the fol­low­ing in to the Bud­get Con­sul­ta­tion, and since I do have the op­por­tu­nity to present it live, would like to make my opin­ion pub­lic.

1. Bal­anc­ing the bud­get us­ing past bud­gets which are not bal­anced as a foun­da­tion is doomed to fail­ure. My sug­ges­tion is both in­no­va­tive and dras­tic, and yet would not only work in re­duc­ing spend­ing, it would lay a new gen­er­a­tion of bal­anced bud­gets for years to come, with­out sac­ri­fic­ing cur­rent pro­grams. Our prov­ince is small enough to make this work, as well as set an ex­am­ple for all of Canada to fol­low. We need a zero based bud­get.

Ev­ery depart­ment, even more, any agency and part of the govern­ment that re­ceives money from the prov­ince needs to write a bud­get, not based on per­cent­ages from last year, but needs to write a bud­get jus­ti­fy­ing ev­ery dol­lar. It is nei­ther as com­pli­cated or as over­whelm­ing as it sounds, and would re­quire sev­eral years to com­plete, but the re­sults would be­gin im­me­di­ately. Ev­ery small depart­ment writes their own bud­get and moved it up­wards to their depart­ment above, who re­views and puts them to­gether.

Those smaller bud­gets could be made pub­lic for in­put, and the overview would not cost mil­lions for ac­coun­tants and lawyers, the peo­ple who are putting the money into the sys­tem would pro­vide over­sight. It would be a large pro­ject and would be think­ing out­side the box. At the same time it would pro­vide a foun­da­tion for bud­gets of the fu­ture, and you, as Fi­nance Min­is­ter would know, for the first time in gen­er­a­tions, where the pub­lic’s money is go­ing.

2. With the zero based bud­get com­pleted, I strongly feel that spend­ing would be re­duced on its own with­out sac­ri­fic­ing any le­git­i­mate pro­grams, in fact, with less (prefer­ably none) money go­ing into un­de­fined and il­le­git­i­mate places, spend­ing could com­fort­ably be in­creased in cer­tain ar­eas for the first time in years.

3. Spend­ing has tra­di­tion­ally been based on last year’s spend­ing. Cuts or in­creases have been a per­cent­age of last year’s spend­ing. So any item that has been waste­ful or care­less is not caught up in the process, it has just been in­creased or de­creased as part of a larger process. With the zero based bud­get, care­less and waste­ful spend­ing would be found out, and not in­cluded in the new bud­get, which would nat­u­rally leave ex­cess funds, so no in­crease in taxes would be re­quired to bal­ance a bud­get.

The ab­so­lute worst that could hap­pen, is to pro­vide proof ab­so­lute that there is no waste­ful spend­ing, and pro­vid­ing a foun­da­tion for re­quired tax in­creases.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.