For those of you who've been anxiously waiting, today is budget day. Unfortunately I haven't had a lot of time to put together a full preview of what we'd hope to see but might as well throw out a few thoughts.
What we noted back in October is that we'll be keeping an eye on immigration receipts as a possibly early indicator of job loss/growth in 2009. It'll be interesting to see the comparison as an estimation of how well or poorly we did for jobs in 2009 and what it means for our recession.
Ultimately though Ms. Cox has a terribly difficult job in putting together this budget given spending was high in the boom period and now we have little cushion.
What we're looking for is limited or no tax increases as higher taxes at this rather dire time could only deepen and prolong this recession.
We're also looking for reasonable borrowing. It's inevitable that we'll need to borrow to cover our cash flow difficulties and it is a hope that we keep this as small as possible.
Finally hopefully some bold plans are put forth to cut costs and wasteful spending. Eg. Cut back on consultants. Institute a hiring freeze. Find ways to ensure departments cut back without cog in the wheel cop outs. Reduce unnecessary or unrealistic social spending. Cut unnecessary and extravagant travel and get rid of ridiculous and unnecessary expenses like the fleet of GP cars. Perhaps radical new concepts like car sharing to reduce the government fleet and associated costs. Who knows what we can expect. Let's hope for the best.
None the less, let's see it, hopefully in full detail even.