We all know the tricks of the trade – fly a few kites to see the likely reaction; bang on about not being able to talk about buget announcements while announcing lots of thing before the budget; and selectively leaking in the week or two before the big night. (I can hardly wait :))
So are we seeing the beginning of an emerging budget strategy with the pre-release of all the nasties, leaving the big night for A POSITIVE VISION FOR THE FUTURE BASED ON SCHOOL EDUCATION AND DISABILITY SUPPORT. This has started with the significant cuts to university spending but expect more.
No doubt, Swan will continue to drone on about how much revenue has been ‘written off’ since the GFC – complete tosh, by the way – but there were some interesting figures released publicly on late Friday afternoon.
The monthly statements dropped out at 4.20pm on Friday show that for the year to February Labor has actually raised $15.8 billion more in revenue compared to the same period last year – an increase of 7.2 per cent.
Despite this, the financial statements show, a deterioration in the underlying cash balance of $5.7 billion compared to the Mid Year Economic Fiscal Outlook released just five months ago.
The budget to February is currently in deficit to the tune of $23.6 billion compared to the $17.9 billion deficit estimate in MYEFO.
It just goes to show us how ludicrous the revenue projections were in the 2012 Budget – there really are a lot of gullible (aka sympathetic) journalists around. A revenue increase of over 7 per cent is actually very good, particularly given how low inflation is, but we still not get anywhere near a budget surplus this financial year. No ifs, not buts about it.