The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is inviting residents to weigh in on budget priorities for the next two fiscal years.
Finance minister Robert C McLeod announced Thursday that the government is seeking public input for the next two budgets.
Last week, McLeod tabled a review of revenue options available to the GNWT in response to the harsh economic climate.
The territory is currently on an unsustainable fiscal path as revenues decline and expenditures continue to mount.
To fully address the projected gap between what’s coming in and what’s going out, the GNWT says it will need to come up with $150 million in combined revenue and expenditure measures over the next five years.
Earlier this year, the government said it’s forecasting marginal surpluses for the next three fiscal years followed by consecutive deficits. The GNWT is also expecting to be $1 billion in debt by 2020.
“A weak national and territorial economy means that GNWT revenues will continue to be lower than expected, while our spending continues to grow,” said McLeod in a statement.
“Spending more money than we have is not sustainable over the long term and we need to act now to bring government spending into line with revenues.
“As we prepare to finalize and debate the 2016-2017 budget in the spring, we are asking NWT residents to be part of the solution by telling us about their priorities and suggestions for government spending and revenues.”
Residents can provide feedback on the finance department’s website between March 11 and May 20.
There, people can answer a series of questions about their priorities for programs and services and ideas for improving government efficiency.
Information gathered will be tabled when MLAs sit next in May.