Aylward seeks more comprehensive and inclusive budget consultations

Aylward seeks more comprehensive and inclusive budget consultations

STRATFORD  – Opposition Leader James Aylward thinks government’s pre-budget consultation process should be more comprehensive and inclusive and today announced plans for a series of pre-budget consultations as a first step towards that goal.

“Right now we have a 30 day budget consultation period for public comment on how government should spend close to $2 billion annually on the needs of Islanders in operating and capital budgets. I think there is room to improve this model so that the viewpoints of Islanders are heard when it comes to determining the spending priorities for the province,” said Aylward.

Aylward noted that the current budget consultation process includes three daytime meetings by appointment in the middle of winter and an online comment feature covering a thirty day time period. Aylward also noted that currently no public consultations for development of the province’s Capital Budget that this year will see over $133 million invested in public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, manors, roads and bridges.

By contrast the federal government launches its budget consultations several months earlier and the House of Common Finance Committee holds its budget consultations even earlier to give a larger window for public feedback.

As an initial step towards reform Aylward announced that the Official Opposition will be hosting public consultations on the budget and taxpayer priorities throughout the winter months in advance of the Spring Sitting of the Legislature. The consultations will include public town hall meetings held on evenings and weekends, both written and electronic submissions, stakeholder meetings and online engagement.

“I feel that adopting a more comprehensive and inclusive budget consultation process is one of many steps that can be taken to make our government more responsive, more transparent, and more accountable. A more inclusive and open approach will ultimately result in better governance for Islanders, a goal I believe that all Islanders share,” said Aylward.

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