Shane Ross

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Budget 2005: A Calculated Repositioning of the Goverenment

Posted on: December 1st, 2004

Only an idiot or someone who has a political axe to grind could oppose this budget. It is obviously a deliberate, calculated and perhaps humane effort to reposition the Government by giving away money. Luckily for Fianna Fáil, the Government is in a position to do so.

The only quibble with the budget is where the money was given because no one can say he disapproves of what the Government did for people with disabilities or old age pensioners. All of these things are laudable and any of the people who opposed this budget would die to be able to do what the Government did today. That is the truth. If we lived in an honest world, we would all welcome this budget and say it was good. We might prefer if the Government did one or two other things but it is good overall and credit is due to the Government for building the economy so this can be done. It should be applauded for bringing the economy to such a stage, as should the former Minister for Finance whose management allowed his successor to give away such an incredible amount of money.

It does not make matters easy for the Opposition but it is a budget few of us can realistically oppose. I would prefer to have seen certain commitments. The era of tax reform and radical thinking in the area is over. We will now have a series of budgets geared towards an election. That is the natural political instinct and we will see a steady as she goes series of budgets.

It is a pity that the Government did not take the opportunity to tackle tax incentives. I do not accept the explanation of the Minister that all these things are to be examined and we will look at them next year. Some of these, particularly the stallion industry, regardless of the results of the examination that has already been going on for a year, should on principle be taxed.

It is a pity the Minister did not tackle these incentives head-on instead of falling back on the idea of a review. That is a fudge. In general, however, it would be churlish to dismiss or oppose this budget. On the whole it has done good things that the economy can afford.