Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Has the 2014-2015 Ontario Deficit Increased from the Previous Year? Media Silent

The 2014-2015 Ontario fiscal year ends tonight. The deficit was originally sort of predicted at $12.5 billion. What I mean by sort of is that the province makes a prediction for revenues and expenses and now tacks a couple of billion on to the expenses as a contingency fund. To be fair the feds have being doing that since the Chretien days so it isn't too weird.

However what it often allows the province to do is as the numbers firm up and the deficit is closer to their original prediction rather than the original prediction plus the extra couple of billion, is say the province beat their prediction. Which obviously really isn't the case.

Now the Sousaphone, minister of finance Charles Sousa has said that the deficit is more likely to be $10.9 billion as quoted in this Toronto Star article. So fantastic, they beat their watered down prediction. Makes for good news.

But hold on. Anyone can make a prediction they know they will likely beat. What about say, how the deficit for fiscal 2014-2015 compares to the previous year? That's not mentioned anywhere in the article. Thanks Robert Benzie, Queen's Park Bureau chief for the Star.

I'm going to a more careful search of what exactly the 2013-2014 number was, but this Studio 2 article mentions that it was only $10.5 billion:

"For the most recently concluded fiscal year, 2013-2014, the province got the deficit down to $10.5 billon, but it's projected to go back up to $12.5 billion this year.

So it was commonly known that the deficit would probably increase, but nobody would mention in the articles about this year's deficit that it increased. Considering that the Liberal government is claiming that the deficit will be eliminated by the 2017-2018 budget, one would think the trend is important. What about the 2012-2013 number? That might be interesting too.

When the more up to date numbers come out it will be interesting to see how the expenses and revenues differed from the previous fiscal year.


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