A GOVERNMENT WITH NO UNDERSTANDING OF ITS PUBLIC FINANCES

Did Ontarians realize that when they voted for Doug Ford’s Conservatives that they would end up endorsing Kathleen Wynn’s election platform? How can this be? The starting deficit for the current fiscal year in the Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review (Fall Update) was $15 billion, the forecast provided by the Independent Financial Commission of Inquiry in late August. But this estimate actually includes the Liberal’s election platform: $300 million in revenue reducing measures and $5.7 billion in program spending increases.

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Fiscal Monitor for April – August 2018


The federal government posted a deficit of $1.9 billion in August 2018, compared to a deficit of $2.6 million in August 2017.  Budgetary revenues were up 10.4%, reflecting strong increases in all major components.  Program expenses advanced 6.0%, due largely to higher other transfers and personnel expenses.  Public debt charges were up 10.9% due largely to an increase in the average effective interest rate.

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Deficit for 2017-18 Virtually Unchanged from 2016-17


Last week the Minister of Finance released the Annual Financial Report (AFR) for 2017-18 showing the deficit for last fiscal year at $19.0 billion, virtually unchanged from the restated deficit for 2016-17.

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Fiscal Monitor for April – July 2018: The Good News Continues


The federal government posted a surplus of $140 million in July 2018, compared to a deficit of  $193 million in July 2017.  The turnaround primarily reflected higher GST revenues, up 22.1%, due primarily to timing factors given the abnormally low receipts in June 2018 and an increase in other revenues, up 11.8%. These increases were offset in part by lower personal income tax revenues, down 2.6% and higher total expenses, up 2.7%.

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FORD’S DEFICIT (MIS) CALCULATIONS

 

Following the conclusion of the Independent Financial Commission that Ontario’s deficit in 2018-19 could balloon to $15 billion, Premier Ford immediately announced that he would form a special committee of MPPs to further examine the province’s past spending and accounting practices.  He promised with great bravado that he would hold the Liberal government to account for its “reckless spending”.

This was very confusing to everyone.

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Fiscal Monitor for April – June 2018: The Good News Continues


The federal government posted a surplus of $1.1 billion in June 2018, compared to a surplus of only $16 million in June 2017.  As a result, for the first three months of fiscal year 2018-19, the federal government posted a surplus of $4.3 billion compared to a surplus of only $0.1 billion in the same three months of 2017-18. Budgetary revenues were up $6.5 billion, program expenses increased by $1.6 billion, while public debt charges were up $0.7 from year earlier levels.

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