“To date, this fund has contributed more than $34 billion to realize the priorities of Albertans, especially in health care and education,” said PC MLA Rick Fraser, Bill 201’s sponsor. “The government is unilaterally raising taxes and increasing spending. Right now, we have a great opportunity – and responsibility – to save what won’t be returned to us: our non-renewable resource revenue. “
If passed, Bill 201 requires the government to direct a specific percentage of non-renewable resource revenue into the Heritage Trust Fund, beginning from the 2016-17 fiscal year. The bill calls for 25 percent of non-renewable resource revenue to be put in the Fund every year until the government presents a surplus budget at the time of Main Estimates in the Assembly, then the figure increases to 50 percent. Non-renewable resource revenue for the 2015-2016 fiscal year is projected to be about $2.8 billion, the lowest since 1997, and for 2016-2017 fiscal year it is estimated to reach $3.5 billion. This would mean that about $875 million would be required to be invested in the Fund for the 2016-2016 fiscal year.
Bill 201, if passed, would require the government to create a bill of its own that gives effect to the contents of Bill 201. A private member of the Legislative Assembly cannot introduce a bill that authorizes public money to be spent or saved, which is why this bill is being introduced in this way.
“Despite our current economic challenges, we can begin saving this year,” said Fraser. “The recent change in government will result in higher taxes, allowing the government to invest a portion of non-renewable resource revenue for the future of Alberta.”