Whitehorse: Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias and Klondike MLA Sandy Silver say that the Government’s budget is not believable, and that it breaks many of the promises that the Yukon Party made to Yukoners.
“For the last few years, Yukon Party Governments have predicted surpluses and have consistently come up with deficits,” says Elias. “Supplementary budgets needed to be approved in 2010 and 2011 in order to make ends meet. This Government’s budget displays the same lack of fiscal prudence.”
One of the most alarming facts about the budget is that $13.5 million in federal funding previously earmarked for affordable housing, is still sitting in the bank. This accounts for a large part of the $49 million in the Government’s savings account, which has been significantly depleted in recent years.
“In the middle of a housing crisis, when Yukon families are struggling to find affordable and available housing, this is deplorable,” says Elias.
Silver says that all bells and whistles that Yukon Party Governments have pulled out when making major promises, sounded more like a sad trombone when he saw today’s budget. The Yukon Party held grandiose groundbreaking ceremonies for a new Dawson City Rec Centre and a new F.H. Collins School as part of their election campaign, but the original promises were not reflected in the budget.
“A Government can only turn over so many sods, before announcements become hollow,” says Silver. “Yukoners are looking for results, and so far, they’re getting delays and excuses. When a Government tells its citizens that it’s going to do something, the people expect it to follow through.”
The Liberals are also concerned that the budget has no real plan for diversifying the economy; that the trend of capital budgets going over budget has continued; and that there is no comprehensive plan for Yukon workers to receive training in skills and trades.
Despite their concerns, the MLAs are encouraged by some things in the budget, such as the Government’s commitment to fund the Yukon Police Council and its investment in liquefied natural gas as a possible medium term energy source.
“We want to make sure that this Yukon Party Government, unlike its predecessors, has a plan as it moves ahead” says Elias. “No one Party can claim that they have all the answers, so it’s important that we all try to cooperate for the betterment of the territory.”
For additional information contact:
Blake Rogers 667-8942
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