COMPARING FISCAL APPLES TO FISCAL ORANGES

Did the Liberals inherit a small surplus (less than $1 billion) in 2015-16 as recently forecast by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) or a deficit of $5.4 billion as forecast by the Finance Minister in his 2016 Budget?. That depends on how one interprets the final outcome, which will not be known until the official Public Accounts numbers are released the fall.

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LESSONS FOR THE 2017 BUDGET

It has been almost a month since the government’s budget. Traditionally, a first budget is a political document that focuses on fulfilling election promises. Given the political nature of a first budget, the Prime Minister’s Office is quite naturally very involved in its preparation. The objective is to get the budget over with and off the front pages quickly.  Unfortunately, for the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, their first budget is still in the news and not in a favourable way.

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Fiscal Monitor for April 2015– January 2016

The federal government posted a surplus of $1.1 in January 2016, compared to a surplus of $2.2 billion in January 2016.  As a result, there was a surplus of $4.3 billion for the first ten months of 2015-16, compared to a surplus of $1.3 billion in the same period in 2014-15.

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THE TAX ELEPHANT IN THE LIBERAL “BUDGET”ROOM

 

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Finance Committee Pre-Budget Consultations – A Waste of Time and Resources

On March 11th, less than two weeks before the tabling of the Liberals” first  Budget, the Standing Committee on Finance released its budget recommendations based on consultations with 92 Committee witnesses and another 175 witnesses who provided written submissions.  Unfortunately, by then, most budget decisions  had already been made and the chances that the Committee’s recommendations (other than Liberal election promises) would have any impact on the Budget were virtually non-existent.  But no one really expected they would, given the length of time the Com

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THE MAIN ESTIMATES FOR 2016-A PROMISE DELAYED

In his February Economic and Fiscal Update, Finance Minister Bill Morneau forecast that total budgetary expenses would be $293.1 billion in 2015-16 and $304.5 billion in 2016-17. The following day, the President of the Treasury Board, Scott Brison, tabled the Main Estimates for 2016-17, showing total expenditures for 2015-16 at $250.7 billion ($42.4 billion lower than forecast by the Minister of Finance) and $250.1 billion for 2016-17 ($54.4 billion lower than forecast by the Minister of Finance).

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