Monday, July 18, 2005

Sask: This must be said one more time

All political oppositions do it, regardless of stripe. When times are good for government revenues (not necessarily for taxpayers) oppositions decry "government low-balling" of revenues , arguing that government of the day does this to deny certain demands during the year -- whether they be for increased spending or tax reductions.

Low-balling, if indeed it happens, is a good thing. It's good financial management. It defends the budget process from sudden downturns. It's not rocket science.

Nonetheless, oppositions try to turn surpluses into bad things by impugning the motives of the government of the day. In Alberta, the Liberals have been doing this for years, accusing the province of "starving" social programs (which is laughable, as Alberta has the richest social programs outside of Quebec).

The opposite of low-balling is a really bad thing. Like when the province projected a laughable 6.8 per cent GDP growth in budget 2003. That growth never happened, and it was foolish to project it. That year Saskatchewan ran up a $654 million deficit. But hey, it was an election year, and people wouldn't know the impact until after the election. They also forecast a balanced budget that year.

Given the choice between the two, we would take "unanticipated surpluses" over the lies of Budget 2003.

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