Budget passes through LA
(CNS): The government has finally completed the long-awaited and most controversial budget in the country’s history after legislators completed Finance Committee in a matter of days and voted on the 2012/13 Appropriations Bill. The governor or the acting governor must assent to the bill before the end of business on Friday in order for the government to be able to function after that date, however, since the UK has offered its conditional approval to the spending plans, it is expected to be signed. With government now hoping to raise some $650 million over the next nine months, legislative changes will be required quickly to enable government to collect the new fees.
Following the vote, Ezzard Miller, the independent member for North Side, said he was still sceptical that government could collect the targeted revenue.
“I do not believe there is any way in the current circumstances for government to collect $650 million from the economy,” Miller said. “What happens when the economic advisor makes his trips back to the Cayman Islands and finds that the revenue and spending is not on track?” he asked, pointing out that, with no room for supplementary appropriations under the conditions imposed by the UK, the government could find itself in real difficulties.
The independent MLA said that the requirements imposed by the UK would tie the hands of all future governments because of the incompetence of the UDP government and its failure to fulfill the promises it had made to the UK over the last three years when it came to cutting spending and producing balanced budgets.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was not necessarily being unreasonable, Miller added, noting that the original three year plan which the government failed to follow was established by this administration and not the UK.
“This was the government’s plan, not the FCOs, and it was government which failed to do the right thing,” the MLA added, pointing to the continued increases in spending year on year including even this year. While the UDP administration is claiming significant cuts, Miller noted that government spending has increased by more than $30 million.
The premier revealed in his statement this week that the Public Management and Finance Law (PMFL) and the Public Service Management Law (PSML) would be amended to re-centralize the financial and human resources functions of government to cut costs.
This should have been done more than two years ago, Miller said, noting that his motion on this issue was rejected by government on the grounds that it was already in the process of amending the relevant legislation.
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