In response to Mel Rothenburger’s column (B.C. Tories Promise Change, But What?, The Daily News, Nov. 29).
You want to know what (the B.C. Conservative Party) will do differently? Let’s start with one of the most serious issues we have in B.C. — out of control spending that began with the NDP and has continued with the B.C. Liberal Party.
First, the numbers are big and most people don’t understand — heck, even I have a hard time trying to wrap my head around the billions our government owes.
Suffice to say the deficit is the amount that government overspends the revenue it receives each year. This fiscal year, by the government’s own admission, that overspending will total nearly $1.5 billion dollars
That is the amount that will now be added to the total debt we as taxpayers are responsible for, which is currently more than $55 billion dollars.
As you have pointed out Mel, we say we will be more fiscally accountable. Yes, everyone says that but here is how we as B.C. Conservatives differ. We plan to put checks and balances in place to see it actually happens.
We will create an independent legislative budget office that will examine in detail what the governing party has put together for a fiscal budget for the year and announce to the public whether the numbers make sense and are realistic.
The office would operate year-round, be available to MLAs of all parties and also be able to review and monitor the spending and revenue plans for Crown corporations and agencies (for example, B.C. Ferries, B.C. Hydro, Community Living B.C.) as well as schools, universities, colleges and hospitals.
John Cummins said, and I quote, “I believe that British Columbians support greater, independent analysis of the province’s finances. The savings we hope to achieve . . . with greater fiscal scrutiny . . . exceed the estimated cost of the proposed legislative budget office.”
That makes a lot of sense to me and it is easy to understand. Not only do we need to say government has to get spending under control and present realistic budgets — we need to see that it’s happening. It’s also why we have said and will continue to say, we need to spend smarter, not spend more.