Auditor General Calls for Long Term Fiscal Planning
Prince George, B.C. – The Province needs to develop a long term fiscal plan in order to avoid financial crisis, that’s the bottom line of a report by Provincial Auditor General Carol Bellringer.
In her report, she says balanced budgets alone “are not sufficient to ensure policies and programs will be sustainable in the future.”
In her report, Bellringer says the challenges facing the Province over the long term include:
- aging population which puts more pressure on health care
- declining workforce, which impacts the economic growth
- infrastructure maintenance and upgrades.
Bellringer makes just one recommendation in her 36 page report and that is “that government report publicly on its assessment of the province’s long-term fiscal sustainability, including the reporting of relevant targets and results. This assessment should inform the annual budget process.”
The Province develops its budgets on a three year cycle, and Bellringer says that view is too short “The Government must look beyond the three year budget cycle and beyond the 4 year election cycle”.
In her second report, she examined the process for the development of the annual budget, specifically revenue and how the Government makes that prediction. The findings confirm the Government’s forecasting and forecasting process are sound “they reflect expected economic conditions, are consistent with Government plans, and they accurately reflect the key assumptions.”
She did make three recommendations to the Treasury Board Staff and all focus on making the process more transparent and understandable for the public.