Interesting post about what government auditors do. Click here for the source or read an excerpt below.
I guess I’m not too surprised. But after days of poring through the Selinger government’s public accounts released last week on the eve of the election, it turns out the NDP’s deficit for 2010-11 is a lot higher than expected.
The core government deficit comes in at $490 million.
Manitoba’s auditor general Carol Bellringer, upon request, walked me through some numbers this week that I was looking for.
Namely, what is the real deficit for the core government operations, not including Crown corporations such as Manitoba Hydro and Manitoba Public Insurance?
Government doesn’t use net revenues from those Crowns for its day-to-day operations.
It takes a bit of time and requires a few calculations. But Bellringer pointed me to the schedules in the public accounts I would need to find the number I was looking for.
For her part, officially, Bellringer only cares about one set of books. It’s what they call the “summary budget.” That includes absolutely all aspects of government and government-related operations, including all Crown corporations such as Hydro and MPI.
It is that set of books that the auditor general audits and gives an accounting opinion on.
Her office does not give an opinion on the government’s core operations. Why? Don’t know. That’s the industry standard that auditors general have adopted across Canada.
However, if you really want to know whether your government is spending more than it’s taking in, you have to look at the core government’s set of books.
And when you do, you’ll see how the Selinger government has excluded all kinds of transfers and grants from those books to give the appearance that the core government deficit is smaller than it really is.
I will have more on this in the days to come. It’s very interesting stuff.
And I would like to thank Carol Bellringer for walking me through the public accounts and giving me a better understanding of how the government’s books work.