This budget has not succeeded in doing this. What it does is continue the reckless direction that the government has taken Albertan in since they’ve taken office. This budget continues to ramp up spending and debt accumulation, wipes out Alberta’s assets and savings and eliminates the fiscal capacity that successive Progressive Conservative governments worked so hard to build.
This budget will introduce a $10.4 billion deficit for this year alone. This is the largest deficit in Alberta’s history. Over the next four years, Alberta will take on over $50 billion in new debt, and most concerning – they’re doing all of this without a hint as to how they might pay this back. Just six months ago, this government limited debt to 15% of GDP. This week they said they will repeal even that high limit.
This budget will also increase Alberta’s debt servicing costs by 300% over the next three years, it reduces Alberta’s savings account by $23 billion and it increases spending by nearly $11 billion. Looking deeper, it’s clear this budget does very little to help anyone who is looking for a job or who has lost their job. This government had promised job creation in the past with their “Job Creation Tax Credit” which had to be cancelled before a single job could be created. The job creation ideas outlined in this budget will not come close to replacing the jobs chased out of Alberta by NDP policies.
Earlier this month, our Progressive Conservative Team launched ENGAGE. In it, we challenged the government to work with other parties and Alberta’s public service, to find $4 billion in savings over two years without impacting front line services. While this wouldn’t have balanced the budget, it would have shown that the government was serious about being fiscally pragmatic, and serious about reducing the costs of government.
We need to see real leadership from our Premier and Finance Minister. Reckless borrowing with no plan to pay it back, while presenting another ineffective real job creation plan is not what Albertans expect from their government. The Progressive Conservatives will continue to advocate for a plan that will put Albertans back to work.