No white Christmas for those with the budget blues

20 Dec 2016

The government still won’t acknowledge why the deficit isn’t going away, but it’s not too late to take some simple steps

THERE was a bit of pride and a bit of resignation in the way treasurer Scott Morrison and finance minister Mathias Cormann reported yet another $10.4 billion blowout in the budget deficit forecast for the next four years, as revealed in yesterday’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, or MYEFO.

They felt that they had done a workmanlike job, and, within the constraints this government has imposed on itself – “we don’t do tax rises, even when the budget needs to be fixed” – they had. Cormann pointed out that they had funded all their election commitments while making policy decisions that, in net terms, are expected to reduce the four-year deficit by $2.5 billion without causing serious political storms.

How they did that is an interesting point we’ll come back to. And there are many other things of interest here, not least the Turnbull government’s extraordinary discrimination against Melbourne, epicentre of Australia’s population growth, in allocating transport funding. We’ll come back to that too…

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