Government gathering input from Islanders on budget

Teresa Wright
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Finance Minister Wes Sheridan

If you have an opinion on how the province should spend its money, now is your chance to tell the man in charge of the provincial books.

The government is holding pre-budget consultations over the next few weeks in an effort to glean input from Islanders about how they would like to see the province’s finances managed.

“We want to make sure Islanders are still on track with what we’re doing fiscally, and that means, are we spending money properly? Are we bringing in revenues the way they would like to see it?” said Finance Minister Wes Sheridan.

“Do they feel there’s a way to reduce taxes or increase taxes and provide more services? What would they trade off if they had the option?”

This is the third year the finance department has held round-table discussions like the ones taking place across the province this month.

Sheridan said he does take to heart the information he receives and has used some of it to help shape policy, taxation and red tape reduction initiatives over the last few years.

“When we came forward with the three-year plan (to balance), that came straight out of budget consultations,” Sheridan said.

“They all said they wanted to see a balanced budget but not on the backs of 900 people going home.”

Two of the four roundtable sessions have already taken place, but two more remain on Feb. 12 in Alberton and Feb. 13 in Souris.

Written submissions can also be sent to Sheridan’s office by anyone, whether they belong to an organization or are just an individual with an interest and an opinion.

Sheridan says he especially enjoys the roundtable discussions, as they offer a unique opportunity for business groups, unions, community advocates and private citizens to come together to discuss and debate the financial interests of the province.

“These are times we have a real opportunity to listen to Islanders and what their thoughts are and you get some real good ideas as to how to do things a little bit differently,” Sheridan said.

Islanders can provide feedback for the 2014-15 budget by responding to an online questionnaire on the provincial government webpage at gov.pe.ca/budgetsubmissions.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Geographic location: Alberton, Souris

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Recent comments

  • Douglas
    February 10, 2014 - 13:44

    Here are some suggestions, Education and healthcare and if you need anymore suggestions I will gladly meet with you Mr. Sheridan and tell you exactly what you yourself can do.

  • Joe Blow
    February 10, 2014 - 13:09

    Nobody cares about Sheridan's plans to balance the budget by taxes the people of PEI to death and homelessness!!! Nobody cares about Wes Sheridan and his lies.....nobody cares about the debt because Sheridan and Ghiz have made the debt so big, that there is no way we will ever be able to pay it all back because they spend carelessly and paid for things Islanders don't need and never wanted in the first place. Wes....you are talking to yourself....nobody believes ONE word you say after all the lies you've told us!

  • SLIPPY
    February 10, 2014 - 12:57

    "Government gathering input from Islanders on budget" No they are not, they have a terrible track record of "listening" to the people of PEI

  • country boy
    February 10, 2014 - 11:56

    Here is some advice. Balance the budget as promised before the next election. I'm tired of politicians promising a balanced budget IF elected.

  • Henry Sow
    February 10, 2014 - 11:09

    Do the Islanders a favour Wes and resign. Your Liberals have us almost broke and living in poverty with your reckless spending and tax gouging to make up for it. I am confident that our residents will kick yours and the rest of your crooked asses to the curb come next election.

  • Josephine Flow
    February 10, 2014 - 10:57

    From what I read about Prince Edward Island online, the citizens ther would have better luck telling VLADIMIR PUTIN how to run his finances and country. This is such an obvious ploy by Mr. Sheridan and Giiz to make people feel they have a say in what goes on. But, because they control the justice system, who gets "touched" by the co-conspirators, who gets the money and who gets the shaft, the dictators are notoriously difficult to root out. On behalf of the good people, every effort must be made to eradicate this reign of terror.

  • the budget speech you'll never hear from Wes
    February 10, 2014 - 09:30

    Madame Speaker, I rise in the House today to present the Budget Estimates for 2014-2015. Aside from some anomalous years, this province has been running a structural deficit since 1960 - that's over 54 years of consistently charging the cost of today's services onto the tax bills of future generations. Right now, our present taxpayers are paying interest payments for the services expended by this province under the premierships of Jones, Matheson, Shaw, Campbell, MacLean, Lee, Ghiz Sr., Callbeck, Milligan, Binns, and of course our present government. These past and present governments have been unable to reconcile expenditure with revenue. Madame Speaker, this is an impossible task, in a province devoid of natural resource royalties, in a province with a rapidly aging tax base, in a province with an agricultural industry in decline as our and previous governments have allowed the natural environment to be degraded by damaging industrial agricultural practices. Madame Speaker, in the words of George Bernard Shaw, ''The love of economy is the root of all virtue.'' Unfortunately, this province is witnessing before its very eyes the implosion of its economic underpinnings. It may appear in bank economists' reports and even reports from my own department that (part time) jobs are on the increase and that we are attempting to get revenue more in line with expenditure but ''the jig is up''. We are never ever going to resolve the structural deficit. Our net debt now stands at over $2 billion for a province with 140,000 residents - an island with the population of a medium-sized town in other provinces. Despite our attempts to equalize our tax regime with other province through the introduction of the HST, we have a hemorrhaging middle class and small business sector. Wealth generation is on the decline. Poverty is increasing. Temporary poor paying jobs are the new norm, which skew economic figures. Madame Speaker, this is a difficult decision but as Minister of Finance, Energy and Municipal Affairs, I have to tell the residents of this great Island that Executive Council met last week and has come to the conclusion that our governance model as it currently exists is unaffordable. It has not been affordable since 1873 and it is not affordable now. Therefore, on unanimous recommendation of the Executive Council, the Premier will be visiting with the Lieutenant Governor today to inform His Honour that it is the government's intention to seek a dissolution of the province and merge it into one or more neighbouring provinces. The Premier will be visiting with the Prime Minister and the Regional Minister for Atlantic Canada later this week to discuss the amendment to the Constitution of Canada that will be necessary for this to happen, under the terms of which, the Government of Canada has agreed to assume the debt of Prince Edward Island, in exchange for this island becoming organized as a single regional municipality within a larger province. In closing, Madame Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I present this information in today's Budget Estimates for 2014-2015 but it is the only way forward in order to protect the services required by residents and taxpayers, while at the same time guarding against defaulting our ever-increasing debt obligations. In my budget address last year I noted that Islanders want courageous decisions - ones that are defensible and that make sense. This decision is not taken lightly and while it will be controversial amongst those that equate provincial status with the existence of the island itself, we know this is incorrect and that this is in fact the only fair course of action that we can take from a governance, fiscal, and policy perspective to ensure that future generations of Islanders can still call Prince Edward Island their home.

    • The truth hurts
      February 10, 2014 - 12:57

      It makes me kinda sick to my stomach, but I have to agree with everything in the preceding budget address.

    • I agree
      February 10, 2014 - 23:43

      Well said.. You seem to have a pretty good view on where this liberal government is taking pei.. DOWN THE TOILET!!!!!!!!!! Macdonalds, crosbys , and trainers and countless other supporters are rich enough CUT THEM OFF with all the useless make work projects your giving them

  • Man
    February 10, 2014 - 09:16

    Wow, I'd sure hate to be a Liberal right now, based on a lot of the various comments! Or associated with any of the other second rated hack job positions that the majority of Islanders marked an X for last Election Day Every political type says what we want to hear AND has the solution to all our woes in any campaign, but when the results are expected and the pay cheques are steady it's tough to identify with all the poor saps you just recently fooled. Admit you don't know it all and stop wasting money for a start. Put your self in some others shoes for a day and learn what it's like to actually struggle and find a solution that makes money and doesn't cost money. After all it's all about money, broaden that tax base, fair up wages, and create a kind of environment where people want to make and spend generated funds. Restore our faith and pride in our leaders and you might then address the issues that plague the constituents of our Island

  • Portman
    February 10, 2014 - 09:13

    INPUT are you kidding me what makes ya think your gonna listen to islanders now. This government hasn't listened yet all they have been doing is cut cut cut slash slash wherever they can and take big huge trips that doesn't help the province out. islanders you have to remember when it comes to the budget it's the liberal back benchers that tell Ghiz and Sheridan where the money goes they just sit in there big fancy cozy offices and twinkle there thumbs and wait to be told where to put the funds. Next election lets vote these crooks out I no they don't have much competition but anything would be better than these clowns.

  • A great idea
    February 10, 2014 - 08:39

    By all means, keep spending some of that money to subsidize the foreign workers. Islanders are getting slammed for drawing EI, being called lazy & employers are hiring foreign workers by the hundreds when they cant provide a full week of work for our own people. Fed up with the struggle of trying to put food on my own table. I dont care where you spend money anymore, liberals have created the mentality of dog eat dog on PEI. Gentle Island, my assetts!

  • peter
    February 10, 2014 - 07:37

    Anything is better than this bunch- travelling around the world,throwing millions at international gambling in hope of 'making money'. When did we give these guys a mandate to become 'money makers', that is not the role of a democratic government. In this case 'money looser'. Still they extended their term, without asking the people-- how about it, call an election at the time set out in legislation -or before, - that is my opinion, Wes--

  • Lloyd
    February 10, 2014 - 06:27

    Stop taking a bunch of businessmen on holidays. Stop the multi-million dollar party. Give back the PNP money. Stop spending money on lotteries. I can think of 20 more, but why waste my breath. You and ghiz are nothing but bottom feeders. Bulls-it baffles brains supposedly. Well you sure are full of it.

  • Wes must be on weed
    February 10, 2014 - 05:55

    @ Feedback, take those scraps of food and freeze to serve to Ghiz and his helpers who screwed this island over,this gov don't care about any child/children if they eat or not,it's like this you buy oil to heat your home or buy food,so save all those table scraps and freeze Them maybe someone's lunch after the next election.

    • Starve
      February 11, 2014 - 04:52

      Get some more subsidized housing . And make scumbag landlords accountable for their disrepair . And over priced units . 600 a month for a room shared kitchen and bath ? People on social assistance or EI half of minimum wage have about 200.00 for food ,laundry etc .clothing . Transportation. How is any one expected have healthy mind and body on that for 30 days . To find or sustain a job on ! Allowances for good to keep people healthy even in the form of food stamps verses cash . Education and social programs .

  • Wes must be on weed
    February 10, 2014 - 05:35

    LOL, when the next tax to death budget comes out Wes Sheridan will say this is the islanders input into how a messed up buget should be, more. Taxes and more on top of more taxes....well listen here the people of PEI with this so called government who have literally put OUR gentle island on the rocks with their drunken sailor attitude and the worst debt in history, why now Wes do you want our input when you or this excuse of government never listened before,do what you did best because you did all the damage with your two terms in government, do not blame the people you all ruined our (gentle island ) all by your own dictator ship,tooo late sucking up now the damage is done,we as islanders will have our say at the battot box,I hope Steve Myers or Mike Redmond will have their act figured out before then.

    • don
      February 10, 2014 - 09:58

      if wes is on weed i hope he is paying the HST.

  • I have the answer
    February 10, 2014 - 00:24

    Stop filling your supporters pockets!!!! Giving away money hand over fist!!! Since this government came in it was a mad rush to fill their supporters pockets and their own while they raised every fee and tax possible and add to our total debt of every man woman and child on pei.. Now a good majority of islanders are struggling to make ends meet and I was one of them with a good paying job. So I left pei and came to Alberta to survive.. The cost of living in pei does not match the wages ( not even close ) its higher than alberta and if you get laid off you can count on 6 weeks with no money. Islanders are suffering and all this government can think of is how much their supporters can squeeze out before their party gets the boot.. It's sad really sad to see .. That's my rant from Alberta and I hope to be able to afford to live in my home province 1 day...

  • candrayo
    February 09, 2014 - 21:47

    Smoke and Mirrors….Let's be honest here Wes…in order for an informed decision to be suggested or made by the public, we first would have to have all the facts. We are dealing with government, we know we have very few facts. So you are in essences…wasting more of our time and yours. Just resign please and save a whole lot of time and energy….oh and lest we forget…MONEY!!!!

  • More Liberal Lies!!!
    February 09, 2014 - 21:25

    Lillian: I echo your comments sincerely!!!

  • Pius from BC
    February 09, 2014 - 21:23

    PEI- you have a debt of 2 billion dollars. Insist that the Feds hold back 1/4 of the equalization payments to pay down this debt. That would mean about $85 million. Wes has to realize that you want to "live within your means" even it that translates to cut-backs.

    • Hey
      February 10, 2014 - 10:38

      Hey , that's the best suggestion I'v heard in a long time and also makes sense .

  • joke
    February 09, 2014 - 21:03

    Are you starting to get the message from the comments,Wes? What a joke!!! You will soon have us bankrupt!!Everyone is heading West--no choice!!!!

  • Liberal dong
    February 09, 2014 - 19:52

    What???why do we have any input into anything the Ghiz gov does what they want anyway,the only input islanders will have is on election day when those yahoos are out on their heads but the islanders will still have to carry this out of control debt (deficit ) we need jobs here and our health care is a joke,should I go on ...I rather not.

  • don
    February 09, 2014 - 19:11

    Wes Sheridan. you are a joke you want islanders input LOL when did you start listening to islanders? "NEVER" all this is just to make islanders feel good you have already decided who you are going to donate our money to in the next few years. so STOP this line of bull.

  • total joke
    February 09, 2014 - 18:44

    Not likely the govt will listen. They will now come out with what they want & say they did the budget based on what islanders told them. TOTAL FARCE. This Liberal govt is a TOTAL JOKE. Conservatives better put on their big girl panties & get their act right SOON.

  • FEEDBACK
    February 09, 2014 - 16:36

    My contribution to "feedback" is this: Feed the children; don't let any child go hungry. I believe it is everyone's responsibility to see that children do not go hungry. Too bad those who habitually waste left-over food do not have a method to get all that good food to hungry children, there must be a way- heartsick.

  • mark
    February 09, 2014 - 16:30

    What a load of crap!!!! They will not listen to anything anyone says. Want a suggestion on the budget, quit spending money on useless discussion forums such as this.

  • Charlie Brown
    February 09, 2014 - 15:37

    First thing is to get rid of 90% of our politicians,including this lot. Lets start fresh with so intelligent one for a change.

  • lillian
    February 09, 2014 - 14:48

    Why is Wes asking the Island people now when the Liberal government never listened to us the last 4 years Take a walk Did you listen about HST NO; about our Pensions NO NO and NO. ; about the Plan B fiasco NO; about keeping Island schools open NO ; about keeping our RN positions NO Getting close to election time now you want us to buddy up to you well this Islander can't wait to get rid of you so bye bye I hope. You Liberals are disgusting