Only 13 days to pass budget

The Cayman Islands’ upcoming budget
approval process will have to be completed in less than two weeks to meet with
legally imposed time-lines, according to a plan announced Friday.

Premier McKeeva Bush has announced
intentions to present his budget address to the Legislative Assembly on 15
June. Governor Duncan Taylor will also present the annual Throne Speech at that
time.

Following the Tuesday, 15 June
speeches, the Legislative Assembly will begin debate on the spending plan
Friday, 18 June.

That will give Cayman’s government
nine working days, 13 days in total, to approve the new budget.  In past years the budget process, which
includes Finance Committee, has taken several weeks to complete.

“The Legislative Assembly will work
extended hours until the budget is passed to ensure that an appropriation law
is in place by 30 June,” a joint statement from Governor Taylor and Premier
Bush said Friday.

Cayman’s new 2010/11 budget year
will begin on 1 July.

The added delay gives the United
Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office enough time to approve the Cayman
Islands’ budget, as well as a three-year spending overview that was presented
earlier by Mr. Bush’s government.

Without that UK approval, Cayman
would not be able to borrow to meet its needs for the upcoming budget year.

Mr. Bush plans to meet with
representatives of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 8 June to discuss
the situation.

The Government expected to end the
fiscal year with an operating deficit of around CI$50 million, according to
estimates.

That’s despite the fact that the
ruling government has managed to cut its overall expenses by more than $10
million through the current year.

A number of cuts in government
services and for civil service employees have already been approved for the
upcoming 1 July spending plan, including a 3.2 per cent pay cut for government
workers.

Government revenue projections from
October have fallen well short of earlier estimates, dropping more than $70
million through February.

A number of key revenue-earning
proposals that were planned to occur this year simply didn’t happen; including
the divestment of two major government assets and a proposal to create a
10-per-cent business premises tax for rented office space. 

The Cayman Islands government is
expected to need to borrow well more than $100 million to make ends meet in
next year’s budget.  It’s expected that
more than $200 million will be needed over the next three years to balance the
books. 

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