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Our NDP Budget 2015 Report Card

Posted on October 27, 2015 by Meagan Wade

Have you seen our report card of the NDP Budget? Have a look: 

Alberta Party 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 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.



The budget will not be balanced until 2019/2020. As well, there is no consideration of zero-based audits or spending constraints in core areas.



Capital Plan


Create a transparent five-year Capital Plan which clearly sets out the rationale and priority for each project, a defined completion date, and the projected operating costs for 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).



There is a five year capital plan in Budget 2015 but not the promised ‘Infrastructure Sunshine List’ that prioritizes projects based on clear criteria. This makes it difficult to determine the value of each project in terms of job creation or economic growth.


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.



Budget 2015 adopted the Alberta Party plan to cap provincial debt to 15% of GDP.


Long-Term Fiscal Planning


Create a ten-year fiscal plan which clearly establishes how the accumulated capital debt will be paid down and set 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).



Of great concern, the deficit is forecast to be over $4 billion in 2017/18, including over $3 billion in borrowing for operations. There is no plan to ensure Alberta’s public service does more with less.

Job Creation Plan


Show a realistic plan for job creation which involves reducing small business taxes from 3% to 2% and corporate income taxes from 12% to 11%, stimulating economic growth and private investment rather than an ineffective Job Creation Tax Credit.



The government has left small business and corporate income taxes unchanged, and is moving forward with their Job Creation Tax Credit.



Release 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.




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


Create 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; 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.



The NDP new fiscal framework does not outline any limits on in-year operational spending; completely drains the contingency fund with no plan to replenish it; leaves the Heritage Trust Fund vulnerable to future investment risks; include any milestones to pay down capital debt. There will be new legislation introduced to limit the provincial debt level, however.



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.



The NDP government is investing in new health care solutions, however there is no evidence of any commitment to preventative health – in fact, spending is reduced for primary care networks.

Education & Post-Secondary Education


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



While the NDP government has shown an increase in spending towards the education needs of the province, they have not addressed the systemic issues that trouble both the Advanced Education and Education departments.


Human Services


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



The NDP have increased supports for vulnerable Albertans, but there is a lot of work still left to do in the Human Services department in order to improve collaboration between agencies.  A school nutrition program is welcome but must be aligned with existing not-for-profit programs which already provide effective, efficient school nutrition programs in many Alberta communities.


Flood Mitigation


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



The plan to build the Springbank diversion, along with the investment in municipal mitigation, will protect the downtown core and river communities along the Elbow. Bow River mitigation and drought mitigation will be considered as part of a working group. The investment starts this fiscal year. It is unclear whether existing mitigation in High River will be sufficient. Other parts of the province remain at risk, including Medicine Hat, Sundre, Drumheller and Fort McMurray. A plan is needed for all communities.



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