Politics

Burt explains Throne Speech funding plans

  • Balancing budget: David Burt, the Premier, discusses some of the pledges made in the PLP’s Throne Speech on Friday at a press conference yesterday

A number of initiatives outlined in last week’s Throne Speech will be funded through existing money, David Burt, the Premier said yesterday.

The Premier discussed some of the pledges made on Friday at a press conference held at The Cabinet Building.

The initiatives included the establishment of both a tax reform commission and an economic diversification unit, as well as the re-establishment of the Bermuda Think Tank, and reformation of the Parliamentary Committee, among others.

Mr Burt said: “I would like to be clear, the Throne Speech is about people and not money for money’s sake.”

Asked how the Government would pay for the outlined initiatives while maintaining the pledge to balance the budget by 2019, Mr Burt said: “A lot of the items which we have pledged don’t actually require money.” He added: “So when we’re talking about the overall budget, which is issued on an annual basis, the commitments that are inside those budgets will be met.

“The projects and plans that we have here will be funded out of those resources.

“So we’re not looking to expend extra funds, but the role of Government is to reprioritise funding, and there’s been places and times where we’ve found some funding which can be stopped and can be used for things to accomplish this Government’s priorities.”

Mr Burt said the budget must be balanced before there could be any discussion about debt reduction.

And he added a balanced budget would need economic growth.

He said: “In a large way, economic growth in this country has been stymied by what I would say is interests within Government that have not allowed our economy to function as well as it could.

“That is going to be different inside the Progressive Labour Party Government.”

Mr Burt said that through collaboration — including with the Opposition — Government would “create the avenues and conditions that produce economic empowerment”.

“Growing the economy is central to our plan, because it will provide jobs for Bermudians and empower us to help one another more.

“Simply put, if Bermuda does not work for its people, it will not work for anyone else.”