I was immediately disappointed, and it went down from there.
Why do I have a deficit of $360 million?
The first thing you find out is that you already have a deficit of $360 million. Where did that come from? Uhm, can you tell me, Government of Manitoba, why did you plan to spend all this money if you didn’t want a deficit?
Isn’t this the number you have projected with your plans? And weren’t those plans made by carefully considering whether the items you have budgeted to spend our money on are necessary and worth it?
And so, assuming you had good reasons to include whatever it is you have decided to include, what business is it of mine to now tell you – nope, cut this here and skip that there.
How do I know what to include and what not to include?
When you get to the planning page for building your own budget, the bean-counter budgeting really starts to set in. You are given a set of numbers in 8 or 9 very broad categories of revenues and expenditures, and then, well, add or subtract on whatever whimsy takes you until you get to a number that pleases you.
It’s kind of a meaningless exercise. Ok sure, let’s just increase personal income taxes. There’s money. Or why not just slash $50 million from a category or two of the expenses, even though we have no idea what they are or what those cuts might mean.
If you watch the video, you’ll see that I randomly increased corporate taxes, just because I felt like it, and put $320 million back from the PST. I was then already in a surplus, but that wasn’t high enough for me, so I then added another $16.6 million to the Sinking Funds and Other Earnings, even though I have no idea what they are or whether I even can.
Anyway, I got to a $28.3 million surplus without really trying, and without cutting anything. Ain’t that grand?
What about the Rainy Day Fund?
What bothered me the most about this exercise, was that there didn’t seem to be any place for me to take money out of the Rainy Day Fund to pay off the deficit.
I mean, hey Scott, since you put $407 million in it last year, we’ve got plenty there, and we don’t want to borrow any more because that would increase debt, so …
Forget all the addition and subtraction, and don’t bore me with your categories. My Budget 2020 is:
Take $360 million out of the Rainy Day Fund, pay off the deficit, leave everything else the same.
Problem solved. Except there isn’t even room for that kind of solution. It seems all that the bean counters want us to do is take 360 million beans and move them around. Ok guys, is that what you do?