Saturday 21 April 2018

Just remember, the money is not all ours to spend

We don't have to wait for Budget Day to see if this Government is any different to its predecessors, writes Dan O'Brien

Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin
Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

If budget matters bore you then the next three weeks will be hell. Speculation about which taxes are going to be cut and where spending increases will go will fill newspapers and dominate TV and radio debates. Only on October 13, when Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin deliver the Budget speech, will the full details be revealed.

Budget Day is less of a deal than it used to be. Since post-crash reforms have been put in place, the big bang of Budget Day is less spectacular. That is because more decisions are made earlier in the year and in a somewhat more planned way than the last minute, back-of-the-envelope way of even the recent past.

Most importantly, governments are now bound to set out the size of their budget packages months in advance, helping to insulate finance ministers from lobbying by vested interests and protect them from succumbing to the temptation to splash out as the unveiling approaches.

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