|Trust me friends, my lips aren't moving|
For example, in the second quarter financial report, according to the Canadian Press,
"De Jong blamed the continuing dropping government revenues on falling coal prices and collecting less property taxes."Does the Finance Minister's statement hold up to scrutiny? Let's see.
The ministry's second quarter report shows that coal revenues and property taxes, which amount to 1/6 of the total revenue shortfall, are down $46 million from the budget forecast. That is only 16% of the variance and about 2% of total budgeted revenue.
More significantly, expected natural gas revenues are down three times as much, by $142 million. However, it is expedient to not draw attention to sagging gas revenues while Christy Clark is boasting about liquefied natural gas projects worth a claimed $1 trillion. Of course, zero LNG projects are more likely than the five talked about by Clark, which is good news considering the vast quantities of low cost electricity taxpayers are expected to facilitate liquefaction. Producers are also expecting a break on the usual royalties. Together, those factors mean that most economic benefits of the considered LNG plants will flow to multi-national energy companies, not the citizens of B.C.
Ian Reid has an excellent piece about Liberal sleight of hand in budget preparation:
"At budget time the actual deficit – prior to the forecast allowance – was expected to be $768 million. Now, it’s projected to be $1,369, million which means the actual projected deficit has grown by $601 million since Christy Clark’s first real budget.David Schreck also supplies a point of view that questions Finance Minister de Jong's candor.
"That’s over a $100 million more than the BC Liberals told the media yesterday.
"Now, given their usual strategy, the whole budget is probably a pile of malarkey with an overstated deficit that will miraculously shrink just prior to the election to show us what great stewards the BC Libs are."
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