22 March 2005

Find the missing cash in the budget

While you're at it, notice that the government is reporting some of its revenues differently than it used to do.

Go to the Estimates. Flip down to "Statement V, Comparative summary of federal and provincial revenues", which you can find on page viii.

Notice that suddenly we have this (add three zeros for the full amount):

2004-05 (revised)
Equalization: 790, 613
Atlantic Accord: 128, 324*
Arrangement on offshore revenues: 133, 600**
*[This is the Real Atlantic Accord offsets, never previously revealed.]
**[This is the January deal by its real name.]
Now in the column for 2005-06 (the new fiscal year), the number next to Atlantic Accord is blank. It shouldn't be. The new arrangement figure is there and government should provide a number for the offsets; the new deal didn't eliminate the original offsets - it added to them.
This budget is missing at least $129 million in revenue that this government will positively receive in Fiscal Year 2005.
There is absolutely no reason why the figure should be left off.
The new deal money is there. There is no offset figure reported.
It is obviously omitted deliberately and without explanation.
N.B.: One implication of the omission is that the budget is actually in surplus by $67 million, rather than in deficit. That is a surplus without adding in the real projections for oil revenues.
Stay tuned. As I find more I'll fill in this multi-million dollar blank spot.