PCs' New Budget Targets Schools, Healthcare and the Average Alberta Family to Pay for Fiscal Mismanagement
Posted on March 26, 2015 by Greg Clark
In the PCs' 2015 Budget, Albertans are being asked to pay a lot more for significantly less
The PCs’ 2015 budget announced today will result in longer healthcare wait times, larger class sizes, fewer supports for special needs and ESL students, and fewer spaces in post-secondary education. Now that the PCs have absorbed the Wildrose, Albertans will absorb the impact of massive cuts to health and education to pay for the PCs’ fiscal mismanagement.
This budget does not get Alberta off the energy price roller coaster
The budget fails to address the fundamental problem with Alberta’s finances: a broken tax structure which has led to an overdependence on oil and gas revenue. Yet again, the PCs plan appears to be to wait for oil prices to recover. In the meantime, they are targeting cuts to frontline services that Albertans rely on every day.
The budget is unfair to average Albertans earning under $90,000/year
Albertans making under $90,000 were already paying more tax than citizens in Ontario and British Columbia. Budget 2015 makes it even worse. The new healthcare levy will significantly increase the amount of tax average Albertans pay, continuing the Alberta disadvantage for those earning under $90,000/year.
Until the PCs pass the budget, there’s no guarantee the cuts won’t be worse after the election
The PCs have failed to fix Alberta’s broken tax structure and they have almost no record of keeping their promises. Without passing the budget before the upcoming election there are no guarantees the cuts will not be even worse than projected.
The Alberta Party has a better way
While the PC budget will cut directly into frontline education and healthcare without addressing the fundamental problem with our revenues, the Alberta Party will fight to protect the services we need and reduce our dependence on oil and gas royalties.
The Alberta Party would balance the budget over time. Alberta has the best balance sheet in the country and we do not need to make draconian cuts to frontline services.
We would generate new revenue by matching corporate tax rates of the next lowest province and maintaining the lowest rate in Canada. We will replace the flat income tax, which is unfair to the average family, with progressive taxation like the rest of Canada.
The Alberta Party would keep pace with Alberta’s population growth by building schools, protecting our teachers and reducing class sizes. We would make strategic investments in healthcare to improve service and reduce costs. The Alberta Party believes that Alberta has the people and resources to make our province the best place to live in Canada.
A Closer Look at the Budget...
In Budget 2015, the PCs introduced a health levy, though these funds will be directed to the general budget and Albertans received no guarantee the funds will be spent on healthcare. In fact, even with the new levy there will be an overall cut of $950 million to health spending in 2015-2016. This will lead to greater wait times and less access to primary care services. Of the more than 2,000 job cuts announced today, 1,939 or 96% are in health and education.
This year’s budget promises more schools, though the government has yet to break ground on schools announced under the Redford regime. Furthermore, there are no new funds to hire teachers at these unbuilt schools. Instead the PCs are making cuts to education, which will result in larger class sizes and reduced access to special needs and ESL assistants. The PCs plan to place increased pressure on teachers in upcoming contract negotiations that will force educators to bear the burden of PC fiscal management.
The PCs also announced a $55 million cut to post-secondary institutions, which will will hurt universities and colleges that have already endured significant budget cuts in the last few years. It will also make post-secondary education less accessible to Albertans.
The budget strongly hints that the PCs intend to deregulate tuition fees.
The winners of today’s budget are large corporations, who avoided a higher tax rate while ordinary Albertans are being asked to pay more. Furthermore, today’s budget has no measures to ease the tax burden on small businesses. The PCs plan to cut $55 million from Innovation and Advanced Education, which will hurt entrepreneurs and hinder the creation of new Alberta-made technologies which could supplant oil and gas revenue. The Alberta Party would broaden our economic base through a culture of entrepreneurship and new business start ups.