Those of you who follow me regularly are not surprised I am sure with my criticism of jurisdictions that flaunt the rules and ethics as it relates to budgeting. I began to do an international perspective but have gotten waylaid given I am away from my main computer and the ease of research that it provides.
However , as the last blog makes clear where possible ,even when away , I am forced to enter the foray especially with the jurisdiction in which I reside.
Last year I did a series on Provincial Budgets , highlighting the fact that all were not balancing the books given that balancing the books for me taking in more money , revenue , as a government , than that Government puts out in the way of spending. Pretty simple really.
But Governments have tried to get sneaky . Why not just separate some spending from other spending. Like spending on day to day stuff can be one category and then spending on building things can be another category , now described as current account and capital account. Well see , there is not much of a stretch once you do this to add up current account expenses and apply the revenues coming in and presto , we have just as many revenues as expenses , so a balanced budget.
Now to get around the other expenditures , capital , well this is really different , it’s building things , and before you know it , we have the big ‘catch all ‘ word , wow, INVESTMENT. This word connotes a pay back , and so , ok , many are persuaded it’s different.
But it’s still spending more money . However, now given we have crossed the rubicon on balancing just on current account and the rest of spending is different , we can now not feel guilty about borrowing this other expense . So you are borrowing, but it is an investment, it is argued .
Trouble is , the schools , hospitals and roads don’t stay pristine , they deteriorate. They wear out .
And more is always expected of these services; health: more medical procedures , more and better operating rooms , more drug coverage and drugs , more hospitals; more educational services : computers, special needs , broader curriculum, more higher education ; and better roads and bike lanes and safer bridges; and greener buildings , and the list goes on .
And so the capital account never sees the pay off . Just more and more borrowing , as more and more is well, ‘required’ or is absolutely ‘necessary’ and that always wonderful phase , sure we are in the twentieth or twenty first century . Now there ‘s a catch all for you.
So , there are some of us who see this as a real problem on the not too distant horizon and now with a Federal Governing Party , who unlike the other federal parties , actually promised deficits and , yes, we are headed in a troubling direction.
So , we argue that let’s get our language straight . And let’s begin again to work toward a real balanced budget , all revenues to equal all expenditures . Making choices and telling the straight truth to the citizens, in the Municipalities Provinces , Terrotories , and the Federal Government.