I’ve been thinking more about transparency ticker tapes since I wrote this post.
The problem, I realized, with budget documents, like this 2017 one for Prince Edward Island, is that everything’s expressed in year-long chunks. And when faced with tables like this, most people who are not the Provincial Treasurer, myself included, glaze over with with incomprehension.
Things become much more comprehensible when you divide year-long numbers by 365 to get day-long numbers.
So, for example, it costs about $726,000 a day to have schools, early learning centres, museums and libraries.
And it costs about $16,000 a day to have a Legislative Assembly, $7,000 a day to have a Chief Public Health Office, $1,900 a day to have a Premier’s Office, and we spend $21 a day on forest fire equipment.
We get about $2 million a day from the federal government, $90,000 a day from tobacco taxes, $20,000 a day from beverage container deposits, and $1,900 a day from boiler, electrical and elevator inspection fees.
When everything is rolled together, we take in about $4.9 million and spend about $4.4 million, every day of the year (note that I’m not including the substantial $197 million a year spent on interest and amortization in this calculation).
I love what you did here, but I think your final figures may be a little off. Or else the surplus in this budget will be much bigger than originally announced.
I wonder if you're including spending on interest & amortization on capital projects from previous years. You can find those on the budget summary on page 7 of the new book.
If you're figures are correct -- well it's good news for all of us.
To arrive at the sentence:
I looked at Page 7 of the 2017 PEI Budget and did the following calculations:
I’m not, as you mentioned, including the interest and amortization of $197,912,000 as “spending,” which perhaps I should have. But that money seems more like “magic fairy dust” than “buying forest fire equipment.” Which, I suppose, is the source of the problem.
If I include the interest and amortization, the “spending” figure becomes:
Put another way, if we didn’t have to pay interest and amortization, we’d have an extra half a million dollars a day to spend on whatever we want.
That extra half-million dollars a day is just shy of the surplus government has predicted for all of next year. So again, divide by 365....