March 5th, 2024

Unbudgeted spending out of control under Houston’s government

HALIFAX – Following back-to-back Auditor General reports sounding the alarm about the Houston government’s increased spending outside of the budget process, the NSNDP will table legislation today to update the Finance Act.

“Given what we know about the financial irregularities involved in the Hogan Court hotel deal, now more than ever we need to ensure that this government’s unbudgeted spending has appropriate oversight,” said NSNDP Leader Claudia Chender. “The continued refusal to submit hundreds of millions of dollars to legislative oversight leads to bad deals for Nova Scotians, and could open the door for far worse.”

Two years in a row Nova Scotia’s Auditor General has recommended the Houston government address these issues and fix the Finance Act to ensure public funds are spent appropriately. All other provinces in Canada have additional safeguards to ensure greater transparency in public spending.

“Currently in Nova Scotia, the legislature has limited ability to hold the government accountable for large overspending of public funds,” Nova Scotia Auditor General Kim Adair said in a press release from December’s report.

The NSNDP legislation would enact Adair’s recommendation for the Minister to amend the Finance Act and align the additional appropriations process with standards across the country to provide accountability and transparency over the spending of all public funds.

Last year the Houston government spent $1.7 billion without legislative oversight. They have spent over $1 billion more this year outside of budgeted spending.