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Mar 27, 2018

Senate Debates Budget; Mark Lizarraga Blasts Gov’t Spending

Mark Lizarraga

The General Revenue and Appropriation Bill and nine others were brought to the upper chamber of the National Assembly, the Senate, for debate. With the galleries empty, it can be argued that the true debate – rather than the mud-fest in the House of Representatives – took place today. It began with Business Senator Mark Lizarraga, considered an advocate for responsible government and fiscal moderation. He contended that the Prime Minister’s admission that the budget is really “more of the same” is no recommendation, pointing out that even something as simple as maintenance of public buildings, particularly those for the Government, has been ignored.


Mark Lizarraga, Senator for the Business Community

“Mr. President, this budget for us, is yet another no-consultation, burdensome, merciless, and uninspiring budget. It’s another budget lacking totally in fiscal discipline and sustainability. It is yet another budget that is maintaining steadiness, yes, but in its size, and the unquenchable appetite for taxes. It is yet another budget, Mr. President, that is consolidating our stability – but as a debt-ridden state. It is yet another budget that is advancing growth, yes, but for those that benefit from the continued borrowing and spending of our growing national debt, and this Budget is nothing but a re-commitment, an appalling threat, for more of the same. We have seen the serious cost implications of Government’s poor asset maintenance track record; can we not begin to see the shortsightedness, Mr. President, of this practice? And see the many, many, many negative impacts this has had on our public buildings? We had to have a Civic building totally destroyed; we had to have the downtown Commercial Center re-gutted; we have issues with our national referral hospital; we’ve seen the issues we’ve had with our hospital for the [Western] Region here in Belmopan and I can go on and on.  All because of a strategy not to invest in maintenance. I could even remember the maintenance concerns some budgets ago – could have been in the last budget, where I suggested that we try to allocate funds for maintenance, up front if we have to, since we don’t seem to have the money to do it out of our Cap Two, or out of our recurrent. And I was schooled by the good Senator that said you can’t borrow for maintenance; but we can’t build if we can’t maintain. We can’t continue to build and then have our public buildings totally deteriorate; and then we have to totally trash them in a few years.”

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