Although the Cayman Islands government plans to spend $8.7 million less in the upcoming 2014/15 budget than it did in the current fiscal year, public sector expenses will still come in at well more than $500 million. The Cayman Compass took a look at where all the money is going:
Personnel costs: Civil service salaries, health care and pension spending was increased by $7.4 million in the 2014/15 budget to $241.7 million.
Supplies and consumables: The “hard costs” of government operations, building leases, equipment costs, consulting contracts and other physical resources will decrease by $3.3 million in the upcoming budget for a total spend of $87.7 million.
Statutory authorities and government-owned companies: The government’s ancillary branches are budgeted to cost $94.1 million in the 2014/15, about $6.6 million less than they did this year. The drop is largely due to new dedicated purpose revenue streams being given to the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (via the funds directors’ fee) and the National Roads Authority (through a percentage of the petrol tax). The additional funds should lower the overall subsidy from central government.
Non-government suppliers: These items ranging from overseas medical care to rental assistance, legal aid services to private schools funding, will cost a total of $22.7 million, a drop of $4 million from the current year’s budget.
Transfer payments: Scholarship spending, poor relief payments and seamen’s subsidies will see a modest decrease of $1.6 million to $31.1 million in the 2014/15 fiscal year.
Financing expenses: What government pays on interest for its annual debt will come in at $28.5 million, some $2.1 million less than what it spent in the current year.
Capital investments: The amount spent on this area for public projects like the John Gray High School, road improvements, landfill upgrades and public safety equipment stays the same at $47 million.
Other debts: Government plans to spend about $20 million to pay off various debts and operational losses from certain public sector companies, including the Cayman Turtle Farm ($9.5 million), Cayman Airways ($4.85 million), the National Housing Development Trust ($2.4 million) and the Cayman Islands Development Bank ($1.5 million). The amounts do not represent the full operating budgets provided to these entities by the government. For instance, government budgeted $17.8 million to operae Cayman Airways during 2014/15, but that amount is included in the $94 million funding for the government-owned companies above.