The last Budget before an election was that for 2008 read in the House on 15th October 2007. It planned a deficit of Eur 68 million for 2008. That was before the election.
When after the election Minister Tonio Fenech read his first ever Budget, that for 2009, the actual deficit for 2008 was declared at Eur 200 million.
An election between two budgets makes a difference of Eur 132 million adverse variation between the budget target and the actual out turn.
Now one can be a bit sympathetic as in between there was also the great financial crisis of September 2008 which derailed projections, though to be realistic the effect would result with a time lag in 2009 rather 2008 itself.
But consider what the Minister projected in his first Budget for 2009, with full knowledge of the financial crisis, for 2011. He expected a Budget surplus of Eur 65 million equivalent to 1% of the GDP and debts of Eur 3.68 billion equivalent to 56.30% of GDP. Actual for 2011 was a deficit of Eur 219 million equivalent to -2.7% of the GDP. Debt level was Eur 4.60 billion equivalent to 71% of the GDP.
I quote 2011 figures purposely. Firstly because that was as far a preview as was contained in the 2009 Budget speech. And because 2011 is history and the figures are crystallised beyond scope for revision.
The Budget out turn for 2011 was an adverse variance EUR 284 million and a debt level one billion Euro higher. One billion has nine zeroes after the integer so the difference is much more than just changing an 'm' to a 'b'.
We have seen it all before.