PEI's Operating Budget needs YOUR ideas!

Every year, the Government of Prince Edward Island delivers two budgets; the Operating Budget and the Capital Budget. The budgets consist of a combination of the income and spending for the upcoming fiscal period. The operating budget focuses on the day-to-day running of government and covers a one-year fiscal period and a 3-year outlook. 

The PEI government is currently in pre-budget consultations in preparation for the 2022/23 Operating Budget.

The operating budget lays out where the money will be spent and how. The Department of Finance consults with government departments, opposition parties and the public. 

There is a small percentage of the operating budget that changes. It includes salaries, health and social programs, tax credits, funding for non-profits, and the list goes on. Remember, permanent structures (roads, buildings, bridges) are capital, but the salaries, programs provided, and maintenance are part of operations. 

How to contribute your input and ideas to the 2022/23 Operating Budget:

Send your submission directly to the government by emailing [email protected] by January 24, 2022. But first, check out former Green Finance Critic Michele Beaton's tips to give your submission the best possible chance of success:

 

Michele Beaton's Pre-Budget Consultation Tips

After sitting in on all of the public budget consultations, I saw very few actually make it into the budget. But you can increase your chances of success with a well thought-out ask! Here are some things to consider when preparing your own pre-budget submission:

What is a pre-budget submission?

  1. Gives recommendations to government as it begins to plan for the fiscal year, 
  2. Aims to get government to take policy actions or decisions (i.e. What is our ask?) 
  3. Convinces government officials by being practical, timely, and responsive to their mandate

 

How to develop your idea?

  • Consult with peers 
  • Leverage your networks 
  • Share with public servants and ask for feedback
  • Share with an MLA (ask me! - [email protected])
  • Share with key ministries - Ministry of Finance and Treasury Board 
  • Seek advice on whether your proposal needs legislative change or a policy change. I can help here also!

 

Finally, what to include?

  • Lead with your ask and discuss/identify how the proposed solutions will meet the objectives of the government
  • Provide evidence 
  • Demonstrate how the recommendation provided is actionable and the estimated cost (if possible) 
  • Articulate the impact of implementing the proposed recommendations for islanders.

 

Examples of successful Official Opposition Budget Submissions for 2020-2021

Pre-budget submissions do not need to be pages long - a paragraph or two can do the trick if it contains the elements listed above. The following are the full texts of actual requests submitted by the Green Official Opposition in 2020 and which were then included in the budget:

PEI Literacy Alliance core funding 

Low literacy can have a profound impact on a person’s ability to participate fully in their community. On PEI, low literacy affects 45% of people, and 40% of Island children starting school are not fully ready for learning to read and write.

The PEI Literacy Alliance is a long-established organization that works to address literacy issues on PEI. Its programs are impactful, cost effective, and Island-wide. The Alliance’s work directly complements the work of the Province; in fact, the Province and the Alliance have worked together as literacy partners since the Alliance was founded in 1990.

For the Alliance to continue to deliver and expand its free programs, it needs Provincial operational funding that is adequate, predictable and stable. We request operational funding of $200,000 per year over the next five years to expand the services of the PEI Literacy Alliance.

Crop Study

As Prince Edward Island continues to feel the increasing effects of climate change, it is essential that the provincial government work with farmers to ensure the future sustainability and economic viability of Island agriculture. In keeping with Recommendation #1 from the UPEI Climate Lab’s 2017 recommendations for climate change adaptation, the Office of the Official Opposition is requesting that the provincial government commit $100,000 toward the commissioning of a comprehensive study that assesses the ongoing viability of current crops and identifies potential new crops suitable for the Island’s changing climate conditions over the next thirty years.

Vital Signs

In 2019, the Community Foundation of PEI and the UPEI Institute of Island Studies produced Vital Signs, a report that measures the vitality of the province in areas such as housing, health and wellbeing, and education. The report provides the public with an arm’s length and holistic view of how the province is performing and can also be used to inform public policy on PEI. 

We request that, for the next three years, $112,500 be provided annually to the Community Foundation and the Institute of Island Studies to complete an annual edition of the Vital Signs report.