Where’s the Beef?

I’ve taken a moment to review this year’s budget statement.  To my dismay this years numbers are in a different format then last years.

Last year’s numbers from the 2006/07 Bermuda Government Budget were given in tabular chart form, comparing not only the projected estimates for 2006/07, the 2005/06 original and revised estimates and the 2004 actual numbers.

This year, while the budget summary has some nice colorful pie charts, the budget itself is lacking in the format that made last year’s easy to read and comprehend quickly.  Instead it lays out the numbers in paragraph form.  This can make it harder to read because it isn’t as easy to lookup and compare the data from this year to previous years.

Example:

"Mr. Speaker, Government proposes to collect total revenues of $917 million in
2007/08, about 7 per cent higher than the revised revenue estimate of $856 million for
2006/07."

Compare that to the chart on the right from last year, which not only provides the estimate of $835 million, but also the revised 2005/06 number of $798 million, the original 2005/06 of $750 million and the 2004/05 of  $782 million.

Without these numbers it’s hard to see how things have changed from a big picture perspective because it’s compare each source of revenue.

"Customs duties are expected to contribute $247 million towards the total revenue
estimate in 2007/08. Following consultation with representatives of the Bermuda Tour
Boat Owners Association, Government has decided to amend certain tariff items to
provide greater assistance to these businesses including duty-free fuel, a reduced rate on
spare parts and an amendment to an existing concession to allow sales of existing vessels
to overseas purchasers without a claw-back on the 10 per cent duty concession."

What this doesn’t tell us is what the final numbers for 2006/07 were for customs duties.  I have to search to find

"For 2006/07, customs duty is expected to be some $10 million higher than the original
estimate of $225 million"

Elsewhere in the document, the government suggests:

"This Government listens and seeks to address the concerns in a prudent but peoplefriendly
manner."

I would like to ask where I need to go to collect a copy of the budget represented in tabular form like last year because I would like to get an accurate and fair idea of how our money has been allocated?

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