A quick follow-up to a previous post.
From the SCMP:
The government has again made a gross underestimation of its budget surplus, according to accountants who put the figure at more than HK$58 billion, compared to the government’s estimate of HK$9.1 billion.
In separate press conferences, the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants and PricewaterhouseCoopers Hong Kong respectively predicted the government would post a HK$60 billion and HK$58.1 billion surplus in the fiscal year ending on March 31 – more than six times the figure forecast by Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah in February’s budget.
The accountants put the huge difference down to higher-than-expected stamp duty and income tax payments.
Stock market transactions also incur stamp duty and, along with property sales, big transactions here have contributed to the rise in stamp duty receipts, said the accountants.
“It is common to see a difference between the estimated and actual surplus, but the government has underestimated its surplus over the past five fiscal years, showing its conservative approach,” said Florence Chan Yuen-fan, of the institute’s taxation faculty executive committee. The gap between estimated and actual figures ranged from HK$26.7 billion last fiscal year to HK$100.3 billion in 2010-11.
In November, the city’s fiscal reserves stood at HK$768.6 billion, up from HK$710.2 billion the previous year.
The way I see it, John Tsang is either incompetent or evil – and I’m not saying that the two are mutually exclusive. Just what does the Hong Kong government need to have US$100 billion in reserve for? Basically they’ve got more than HK$1 million per person in Hong Kong.
I’ll take my million in $500 notes please. No $1,000 bills, might be counterfeit you know.