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Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark on his expectations for the upcoming budget and session

Posted on October 23, 2015 by Meagan Wade

EDMONTON, AB - October 22, 2015 - “There are lots of reasons this deficit should be lower than forecast, with school funding and other capital projects deferred. But based on all the signals we’ve seen to date it looks like we’re in for a deficit that will be up to 15% of the total budget. There's no doubt Alberta is in a very difficult fiscal situation. As an opposition MLA I could choose outrage or indignation or even denial. But instead I choose empathy. Empathy for those thousands of Albertans who have lost their jobs, and even empathy for our new government as they struggle to find a way through this. And make no mistake, this government will have to make hard choices."

Clark also released a budget scorecard with detailed expectations.

“My sincere hope for this budget is that the NDs will take the opportunity to rethink Alberta’s public service and find a way to unlock innovation and us to do more with less just like Albertans everywhere, just like businesses and not for profits. 

“There are a lot of great people throughout Alberta's public service, but it is not an innovative place. At times it seems like the place where good ideas go to die. The Alberta Government has an opportunity to create change the culture of the public service, allowing them to be more innovative, cost efficient, and effective in order to provide greater value to Albertans.

“The Alberta Party believes we can achieve a balanced budget by 2018/19 by implementing the following plan:

  • Limit spending in core areas of Health, Education, Human Services and Post-Secondary to inflation plus population growth, even when that growth is negative.
  • Create a five year capital plan that quantifies the costs and benefits of each capital project, including operating costs. Define the benefits each project will have on Alberta’s economic growth and employment.
  • Legislate a debt ceiling of 15% debt-to-GDP to minimize risk of credit rating downgrades.
  • Create a 10 year fiscal plan that clearly establishes how debt will be repaid and how future surpluses will be invested in the Heritage Fund.
  • Job Creation – Implement an investor tax credit to stimulate business investment rather than a narrow job creation tax credit which is open to misuse.
  • Cut business tax – Reduce Alberta’s large business tax from 12% to 11%, cut small business tax from 3% to 2% to encourage investment in Alberta and create an attractive environment for Alberta entrepreneurs.
  • Release the full report of the Climate and Royalties panel, along with David Dodge’s detailed recommendations.
  • Health - Increase spending on preventative healthcare by allocating 1% of the total health budget to an Alberta Wellness Foundation. 
  • Education - Ensure post-secondary education is sustainable by removing the tuition cap, indexing increases to cost of living.
  • Flood mitigation - Invest in significant upstream flood mitigation to protect downtown Calgary and river communities in Southern Alberta. It is critical the provincial government doesn’t wait for federal funding to get started; invest now and seek federal reimbursement later.  

The complete Alberta Party budget scorecard is available here.

– 30 –

For an interview please contact:

Meagan Wade

Media Relations, Alberta Party

587-802-0712

media@albertaparty.ca

 

 

Alberta Party Caucus 2015 Budget Report Card

Alberta Party Caucus Priority

Budget 2015 Grade

Balanced Budget

A clear plan to balance the budget by 2018 – 2019 and return to structural budget surpluses going forward by limiting spending in core areas of Health, Education, Human Services and Post-Secondary to inflation plus population growth. Do more with less in Alberta’s public service by conduct rolling zero-based audits of all departments to ensure programs deliver value to Albertans, and by creating an innovative, entrepreneurial culture in Alberta’s public service

 

Capital Plan

Create a transparent five-year Capital Plan which clearly sets out the rationale and priority for each project, a clearly defined completion date, and the operating costs associated with each project. Define the impact of the Capital Plan on Alberta’s economic growth and employment prospects (e.g. quantify benefit of each project in terms of jobs and economic activity created)

 

Debt Limit

Legislate a debt ceiling of 15% debt-to-GDP in order to mitigate the risk of credit downgrades and higher debt service costs.

 

Long-Term Fiscal Plan

A ten-year fiscal plan which clearly establishes how the accumulated capital debt will be paid down and sets aside a growing portion of non-renewable resources for savings into the Heritage Savings Trust Fund with a target fund level of $50 billion, or a 5.25% compounded annual growth for the next 20 years

 

Job Creation Plan

A realistic plan for job creation which involves reducing small business taxes from 3% to 1% and corporate income taxes from 12% to 11%, in order to stimulate economic growth and private investment rather than an ineffective Job Creation Tax Credit

 

Transparency

Release of the full report and working papers from the Climate Change Advisory Panel, the Alberta Royalty Review Panel, and David Dodge’s review of capital spending

 


 

Alberta Party Caucus Priority

Budget 2015 Grade

Stability

Provide a clear explanation of how the recommendations from the Alberta Climate Change Advisory Panel and the Alberta Royalty Review Panel will be incorporated in future fiscal and economic budgeting by the government to establish some degree of certainty for Alberta businesses and consumers

 

New Fiscal Framework

The creation of durable fiscal framework legislation, to replace the discredited Fiscal Management Act.  The new framework should establish clear fiscal rules for:  Budget presentation on a consolidated financial statement basis; Limits on in-year operating spending increases; Rebuilding the Contingency Account; Setting aside a portion of non-renewable resources for savings into the Heritage Trust Fund; Capital debt limits; Milestones to pay down accumulated capital debt and; Requirements and elements to be included in the Fiscal Plans, government and ministry business plans, in-year fiscal and economic updates, and government and ministry annual and performance reports

 

Healthcare

Increase spending on preventative healthcare, including mental health supports. Create an Alberta Wellness Foundation to encourage innovation in wellness and reduce demand on healthcare. Invest in expanded home care to allow people to age in place and free up acute care and long term care beds.

 

Education & Post-Secondary Education

Index spending to inflation plus population growth. Remove tuition cap, re-link increases to cost of living. 

 

Human Services

Enable increased inter-agency information sharing in support of vulnerable Albertans to reduce administrative costs, improve outcomes for children in care and other vulnerable Albertans.

 

Flood Mitigation

Invest in significant upstream mitigation to protect downtown Calgary and river communities in Southern Alberta. Invest provincial dollars now to get projects started then seek additional funding from the new Federal government.

 

 

 

 


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