There is something truly frigged up in a world where the Premier who has admitted to fiscal mismanagement by she and her colleagues for years and hasn’t done anything to correct the problem can be named the best fiscal manager among provincial Premier’s in Canada.
In her current budget, Kathy Dunderdale calls for a billion dollar cash shortfall.
And the Fraser Institute wasn’t being sarcastic when they issued a news release that began with these word’s:
Premier Kathy Dunderdale of Newfoundland and Labrador has governed with the best fiscal policy among 10 provincial premiers, according to a new report released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.
Clearly, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank has some serious thinking to do.
The first problem with the Fraser Institute’s survey is that they have looked at specific Premiers as if they are the only ones who set government policy. That ignores the role Dunderdale has had since 2003 in supporting what she herself has admitted is fiscal mismanagement.
The second problem is that in Dunderdale’s case, they also only looked at one single year even though Dunderdale has been Premier for two budgets. One year is no basis to judge performance.
You can see the problem with this when you realise Dunderdale’s cumulative score is artificially raised because in the one year of the study, the government brought in a budget that turned out to grow less than the economy.
On Taxes, Dunderdale scored poorly. Fraser likes low taxes and Newfoundland and Labrador’s taxes aren’t low enough for them. Corporate taxes? On corporate taxes Dunderdale scored eighth. On personal taxes, she scored fourth.
Look a bit more closely at the Fraser Institute’s personal tax scores. You’ll see something interesting in the scores. Dunderdale scored big in one category: the marginal tax rate for people who make more than $150,000 annually is the second lowest in the country. The province is in the middle of the pack on the rest, and that scored against Dunderdale.
Dunderdale also got a huge boost because in the one year they examined the provincial budget in one year of the last few where the government hasn’t run a deficit or had to draw down its own cash reserves. Of course, they budgeted for huge deficits.