Today the BC Conservative Party launched a news release entitled Spending Smarter. The news release lightly describes three fundamental initiatives that will give provincial legislators, and hence the people of BC, the tools they need to rigorously examine government spending both before and after public monies are spent.
Here is the text from the news release.
1. The BC Conservatives will reverse the trend of reducing the number of ‘votes’ in the Budget Estimates each Spring, and re-institute a thorough analysis of financial outlays before they are made. In recent decades, the number of Estimates votes has fallen from around 250, to as low as 58. The Ministry of Health – which this year will spend $16.5 billion – has dropped from 16 votes to just one. The number of Estimates votes in each annual Budget will be significantly increased under the BC Conservatives, thereby increasing scrutiny.
2. A new Legislative Budget Office will be established. The office will provide MLAs with independent analyses of complex financial and economic data, thereby giving them greater means to scrutinize public expenditures.
3. The BC Conservatives will fundamentally revamp the Fall sitting of the Legislative Assembly. Focus will shift from passing or amending legislation, to reviewing and overseeing the expenditure of public monies by the government, Crown corporations and the SUCH sector – schools, universities, colleges and hospitals.
Why is this important?
The Spending Smarter initiative is intended to eliminate the persistent deficits that have plagued Victoria in recent decades, and begin the long, slow process of reversing the growth of B.C.’s debt. At the same time, I personally believe that it gives more parties the necessary input and holds government accountable for their actions.
I am not by nature a mud-slinger but the current status quo needs to be challenged. This is our money, not theirs, and you and I have a right (not a privilege but a fundamental right) to have our duly elected officials scrutinize and oversee the BC Budget. The more input we have, the better.
Revamping the fall sitting to provide greater fiduciary insight into the budget is also a direction I favour. While the details around the Legislative Budget Office are vague
Remember, Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA’s), by definition, must represent the people. May 14, 2013 is a General Election in BC. The government spends our money. If you are unhappy with the way our province has been governed and want to change it, or want more of the same, this is your time to vote. Register to vote at http://www.elections.bc.ca/index.php/2013-voters-list-update/