The provincial government has taken steps within the past year to decrease the cost of administration, eliminate waste, remove redundancy and implement process improvements to help ensure taxpayers’ dollars are being spent wisely.
“Without action, our province faces mounting debt,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau, who is also minister responsible for the Strategic Program Review. “The more money we spend on paying interest on debt, the less we have to invest in health and education. We have taken action and are committed to balancing our finances to allow us to invest in our priorities to create jobs and help families.”
“Throughout the Strategic Program Review consultation process, New Brunswickers made a few things very clear,” he said. “They want us to first focus on eliminating waste and redundancy in government, and secondly they want us to get moving on fixing our finances.”
“When it comes to addressing our province’s financial challenges and eliminating the deficit, every dollar counts,” said Boudreau. “It was important to look at ourselves first and identify what changes we could make before bringing forward revenue or expense measures.”
These steps taken in the first year of the review have resulted in about $115 million in savings. Some of the actions already implemented include:
- having the smallest cabinet in 50 years;
- having the premier take a 15 per cent pay cut and ministers taking a 10 per cent pay cut;
- continuing to freeze MLA salaries;
- reducing the number of deputy ministers (the most senior rank in the bureaucracy) by nearly a third;
- freezing 2014-15 funding levels for officers of the legislative assembly;
- freezing contributions to universities and community colleges so that they become more focused and efficient in delivering their important services to students; and
- eliminating funding for the Energy Institute and merging Efficiency New Brunswick’s programs with NB Power.
“One of the objectives of the Strategic Program Review was to take a close look at where we are spending our money and finding ways to save money,” said Boudreau. “There are opportunities to make services better and more suited to the realities of our province by reducing waste, redundancy and inefficiency and also by better integrating innovation and technology into how the government works and interacts with New Brunswickers.”
An options report will be released in the near future which will reveal some of the initiatives suggested by New Brunswickers which are being considered for implementation. Decisions will be made in time to be implemented in the 2016-17 provincial budget.
More information about the Strategic Program Review is available online.