Well, he moved big on stamp duty. A huge overhaul to tackle a market in which he said the "dynamics had changed" (the opposition translated that as a 'slump'.
Senator Eoghan Harris sitting in the senators' section at the top of the chamber looked like the cat that got the cream - expect a big dose of triumphalism in the Sunday Indo next weekend.
Elsewhere there were few surprises. Anything that could have been a surprise (motor tax and VRT) were already flagged. Most of the stuff that was eye-catching (reduction on duties on credit and debit cards at the expense of the banks; 30c increase on cigarettes; tripling of the income threshold for medical cards where there is a child under 18 with intellectual disabilities) will not cost a huge amount either way; and were gestural rather than substantial.
The macro picture was as he predicted. Overall there will be an increase of 8.6% in spending (8.2% in current spending; 12% in capital spending)mistake in l. He has prioritised the NDP, the health services, education (especially to cater for the 13,000 new schoolchildren coming on stream this year) and R and D.
Cowen's priorities have always been tilted more to the lower paid (more than his predecessor that is). And so the increases in tax credits; widening of bands, and above-inflation increases in social welfare.
As for the Green Budget, it just didn't have the impact it should have had. A couple of colleagues felt that the Greens didn't get as much as they should have and that stamp duty eclipsed. My own belief is that a huge mistake was made when somebody in Government leaked the Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) details to two Sunday newspapers a fortnight ago. That completely removed the element of surprise from the Carbon Budget, rendering it a bit of an anti-climax.