SA budget in black despite falling revenue

SA Treasurer Rob Lucas has announced lower surpluses for the state budget in his mid-year review.Falling tax revenues will hit the South n budget over the coming years but the state’s finances will stay in the black, Treasurer Rob Lucas has revealed.

The government’s mid-year budget review says tax revenues will be down by $79 million over the forward estimates, mostly from a slump in the housing market.

But the government says it is still on track to deliver a $40.1 million surplus in 2018/19, down from the $48 million forecast when the budget was delivered in September.

Surpluses over the coming years will also be lower than originally projected and are now expected to come in at $95 million in 2019/20, $96 million in 2020/21 and $189 million in 2021/2022.

“We’re quite intent on delivering modest budget surpluses,” Mr Lucas told reporters on Thursday.

“All we’re seeking to do is to spend no more than we earn.”

The budget review has forecast slightly lower economic growth in 2018/19, reflecting the impact of the drought.

But growth is expected to be correspondingly higher the following year.

And while property taxes will be down, treasury has tipped payroll taxes to be higher, and the government will get an extra $41 million in 2021/22 in GST returns.

It’s also saved $37 million after a decision not to go ahead with the controversial right-hand-turn for the North Terrace tramline, funds it will reallocate in the 2019/20 budget.

Extra spending in the budget review includes $48 million for government schools from 2020/21, under the agreement with the federal government, $34 million over four years to meet the cost of children in state care and $102 million over two years for the plan to fix the problems within the public hospital and health network.

Despite the lower budget surplus, Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said the government should scraps its cuts to government services and programs, given the result of the mid-year review.

“The Liberal government has no excuses for keeping their cruel cuts, closures and privatisations,” Mr Malinauskas said.

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