Stand by your number

Finance Minister Colin Hansen said today he is "not optimistic at all" that it is "anywhere near possible" to meet the government's $495 million deficit target for fiscal 2009/10. Minister Hansen said he reached that conclusion following after his government received personal income and corporate tax revenue estimates from the federal finance department on June 24. He said those estimates show personal income tax "is going to be significantly lower than they had anticipated." But the "biggest impact - and the one that sort of took my breathe away - was what was happening on corporate income tax revenues for 2008."

Minister Hansen declined to given further specifics. He also denied being Pollyanish for standing by the government's budget deficit target over the past four months in the face of worsening financial news and forecasts.

"I think in terms of individuals who were speculating on what the size of deficits could be or should be or might be, they were basing that on speculation. What we do is base our forecasts on real numbers and real data. And we will amend and alter that as we get more hard information. So, as I say, as of the third week of January - given what we knew at the time, I still felt a $495 million deficit was still doable."

But didn't the government base its budget forecasts on speculation at that time? "No. We base our budget on hard data. And we build our model in a pretty deliberate and calculating way. And some of it is subjective. But that subjectivity comes in the way of the forecasts of the Economic Forecast Council, for example."

"If you look at things like - let's take natural gas revenues. So we don't go out and sort of ask somebody's opinion as to what they think the price of natural gas is going to be. We actually look for the hard number that's been used in the private sector for future contracts, for example. And then we plug those hard numbers in."

5 Comments

Gosh, those numbers were cast in stone till right after the election.and folks sometimes wonder why other folks simply don't believe much of what Gordo and gang have to say about much of anything. Some voters sure are suckers for a line of BS.

More than the 20% who voted for him, are the 52% who never voted at all. I wonder if they know that maintaining freedoms has a cost...you actually have to pay attention to what they're doing (or not)...and you have to vote. And because life isn't perfect, sometimes you have to vote for the lesser of two evils. I'd call the NDP the lesser this time around.

Hansen's been around long enough to know his "doable" numbers were bogus, but that didn't stop him spinning his budget hard-target BS anyway. Sometimes you wonder if these guys actually get so used to spouting their partisan talking points that they don't know what's true and what isn't anymore.

Drummer, either he's drank the koolaid or (more likely I think) he wasn't given a choice. I can totally see gordo demanding good news. 'Make it happen'.

This paragraph is hilarious: "No. We base our budget on hard data. And we build our model in a pretty deliberate and calculating way. And some of it is subjective. But that subjectivity comes in the way of the forecasts of the Economic Forecast Council, for example."

hard data, deliberate, calculating... but it's subjective. LOLOL I can't wait to read Shrecks take on this. His article on July 8th about how a deficit will affect executive salaries is very telling: http://www.strategicthoughts.com/

So if he were standing in front of a runaway bus (with the welfare of all BC at stake, and a row of spectators yelling at him to wake up) he would stand his ground until the cold hard steel of the fender gave him the needed confirmation of impending doom and the impetus to take action?

Mr Hansen has to be aware that he sounds like a twit when he says these things - not exactly the image that the man in charge of the province's finances at this difficult time wants to project.

No denying he faces a difficult time or that the public wants to see calm leadership. But if he wants to earn the public support and credibility he will need to get through this, he might want to consider taking a lesson from Mr Harper or Mr Obama and quit the wide-eyed schoolgirl act - it's silly, undignified and deeply unsettling in a man in his position!

Leave a comment

Copyright © 2004 - Public Eye Mediaworks. Reproductions of any portion of this Website are permitted only with the expressed permission of Public Eye Mediaworks.
Canadian Web Hosting graciously provided by dotcanuck Web Services. Layout and graphics courtesy of Art Department Design.