Club Soda and Salt

No more stains

A Budget For Everyone But Me

Posted by clubsodaandsalt on October 7, 2003

If you’ve read the comments I made in response to Laurie’s last post, you already know my opinions on yesterday’s arrests. If you haven’t, suffice to say that I think they’re perfectly justified, but not particularly constructive or savvy (kind of like, say, bombing Syria, but that’s another story). Additionally, the whole boycott was a bit silly. Boycotting Parliament during perhaps the only session that anyone actually pays attention to seems like a poor strategy for getting folks to hear what you’ve got to say. But anyway.

Since the Opposition was absent yesterday and could not do this for us, let me comment on a few of the key points of the budget (full text in pdf) here:

– $22 billion seems like a lot of money. I suppose that there’s quite a bit of work to do in Trinidad, but none of the summaries I’ve read have indicated revolutionary plans that will improve our schools and hospitals. Instead, I hear that CEPEP and URP and other such useless programs are getting even more bags of cash. This makes me happy that I don’t pay taxes in Trinidad.

– Having said that, there are certain aspects of the budget that actually seem like good ideas. Phasing out unleaded fuel is something that I’ve mentioned before, so I’m excited that something might actually happen in that department. Unfortunately, instead of phasing it out by making leaded gasoline more expensive than unleaded, the price of unleaded has been raised (I won’t even get started on the whole tragedy of price controls). I’m glad that the tax on interest income has been removed, it’s a good tax to get rid of, but it’d be nice if we could cut some spending (the excessive book grant system comes to mind) to balance things out a bit.

Overall, this is about what I’d expect from a Manning administration; the occasional good idea,mired in poor assumptions ($25 oil price, which, as the Guardian points out, if much less relevant to our revenue than the price of natural gas) and accompanied by wasteful programs. And let’s not forget some jackboot tactics in Central as well. The whole thing leaves me nonplussed.

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