PROVINCE RELEASES REPORT OF THE ADVISORY PANEL ON FISCAL PERFORMANCE
– – – Budget Decision-making will Continue to Engage the Input, Recommendations of Manitobans: Friesen
Finance Minister Cameron Friesen today released the report of the Advisory Panel on Fiscal Performance, a panel established by government to provide recommendations as part of the development of Budget 2017 that reflect the advice provided by Manitobans, and the conclusions of value-for-money and sustainability reports assessment of core government programs and services.
“Our government’s unprecedented outreach to Manitobans for their input on Budget 2017 and the work of the Advisory Panel on Fiscal Performance have resulted in recommended actions that will ensure the sustainability of the services that our citizens and their families rely upon,” said Friesen. “We are pleased to accept the report of the advisory panel and to commit to Manitobans that we will make quality engagement and input from Manitoba families, businesses and front-line workers part of the pre-budget process each year.”
The panel – comprised of co-chairs Dave Angus and Janice McKinnon and members Mike Sykes, Ardith Sigurdson and Joanne Sullivan – reviewed reports commissioned by the Manitoba government on both health-care innovation and fiscal performance, recommendations of the Red Tape Reduction Task Force, as well as written and online submissions from Manitobans received during the pre-budget consultation process.
The report identifies the challenges associated with Manitoba’s current fiscal situation, the risks to the province’s long-term financial stability and outlines the panel’s identified opportunities for reinventing government.
“The negative momentum of the increasing deficit has reached a point where, if it is allowed to continue, there will be dire consequences for Manitobans. The problems with the fiscal situation are many,” reads The Report of the Advisory Panel on Fiscal Performance. “The process followed for the drafting of Budget 2017, which included engagement and analysis of materials and input from Manitobans, has set the stage for progress to be made. There is an opportunity to move forward in a direction that will make a positive difference for Manitobans.”
Manitoba Finance also released a summary of the interactions with Manitobans that made up the pre-budget consultation period between Sept. 28 and Dec. 1, 2016. Input and ideas were received through five community meetings, written submissions to the finance minister’s office and online through the province’s interactive and innovative budget website, www.YourProvinceYourPlan.ca.
Manitoba was the first province to feature an interactive online tool that allowed Manitobans to build their own provincial budget while seeing how their personal priorities and decisions impacted Manitoba’s 2016-17 $890 million core government deficit, Friesen said. Key themes included opportunities for innovation in front-line services, improving education outcomes, investing in infrastructure as well as finding ways to reduce waste, inefficiency and unnecessary administrative costs.
“Our government continues to focus on fiscal management and deficit reduction through necessary but difficult decisions that will allow us to provide better services and lower taxes for Manitobans as well as security for front-line workers,” said Friesen. “It is very clear from the response we received during the pre-budget consultations that Manitobans recognize the status quo is not sustainable and want to be part of the solution. We will continue to improve upon our engagement with Manitobans to ensure that the decisions of government are grounded in the advice of our citizens.”