During the last election in 2014, all three major parties promised that the budget would be balanced before this election.
The Liberals and the NDP promised a return to the black by this year.
The PCs under Hudak had promised to do the same, but one year sooner.
This time, neither the Liberals nor the NDP are even bothering to promise to balance the province’s books within the next four years.
Both parties’ deficit promises would realistically require at least some significant spending cuts within the next four years.
Even more realistically, neither party would keep its promise. The PCs have not yet made any such promise.
The various parties’ keep breaking their deficit promises because numbers don’t lie.
The NDP budget came under fire from Premier Wynne for failing to account for counting provincial spending promised in this year’s budget. NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s only response was to attack the premier’s own track record with numbers.
The promised spending for which the NDP seemingly failed to account includes money for the opioid crisis, among other things.
This includes funding related to autism services, cannabis regulation, apprenticeships, domestic abuse victims, northern development, and high-speed rail.
The difference? At least 3 billion dollars.
The problem got even worse when critics found that the NDP budget made up $1.4 billion out of nowhere.
Budgets need to set aside “reserve” money for unforeseen changes in either revenue or spending.
This is money that the government must plan to “spend” by putting it into a kind of ‘rainy day fund’. This year’s budget sets this amount at $700 million per year, a number that the NDP chose to stick within their platform.
However, instead of adding this number to costs like the Liberals correctly did, they added it to revenues.
When you plan to put $70 into an emergency savings account, do you expect to have $70 more to spend? Well, that is precisely what this NDP error does.
This would add another $5.6 billion of made-up money to the NDP platform, which already projects deficits for another five years as it is.
The Liberals project seven years of deficits, but they have shown that their numbers cannot be trusted either.
The auditor general has found mistakes in the Liberal budget and projections that also amount to billions of dollars.
We might have become desensitized to those words, “billions of dollars”, but it is up to responsible citizens to realize that there are still real world consequences to them.