A. Section 1(1) is amended by renumbering clause (a) as clause (a.2) and by adding the following before clause (a.2):
(a) “actual operational expense” means, with respect to a fiscal year, the actual operational expense of the Government and prescribed Provincial agencies as reported in the fiscal plan analysis for that year, but does not include changes in liabilities respecting pensions;
(a.1) “actual operational revenue” means, with respect to a fiscal year, actual revenue of the Government and prescribed Provincial agencies, less
(i) revenue received for capital purposes,
(ii) commencing with the 2015-16 fiscal year, the prescribed savings,
(iii) commencing with the 2015-16 fiscal year, the amounts retained in the Heritage Fund under the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Act
(iv) other planned savings referred to in the fiscal plan, and
(v) revenue allocated for debt-servicing costs of the Government in respect of capital borrowing, as reported in the fiscal plan analysis for that year; as reported in the fiscal plan analysis for that year;
B. The following is added after section 1:
No operational deficit
1.1 At the end of a fiscal year, actual operational expense must not exceed actual operational revenue plus any amount allocated from the Contingency Account under section 2(2).
The amendment appears rather long, but in point of fact the salient point of this amendment is at the very bottom, where it deals specifically with operational deficit. In my discussions with constituents and in other places around the province the area that has created by far the most concern is the abandonment in this budget of the 20-plus-year-old policy of not borrowing for operations; in other words, running a balanced budget. In some years even running a balanced budget on the operational side means dipping into the contingency fund. You know, in point of fact, I guess it could be argued that it’s not truly balanced. That debate is one that I think we could have at another time, but it means that operationally, basically, you have the funds to pay for day-to-day expenditures and that you’re not borrowing for day-to-day expenditures.