01 May May 2018 Community Newsletter
As I write this the provincial budget has just been tabled in the Alberta Legislature. By the time you read this the budget will very likely have been passed into law, but I wanted to share my thoughts on this latest effort by the government to find balance in managing our province’s finances.
In a word, I am disappointed. The government had an opportunity to reign in spending without impacting core services. Instead, they have chosen once again to spend beyond their means and continue adding to Alberta’s already historically-high debt. By the government’s own estimate, the very best case scenario would see our province accumulate $96 billion in debt by the time the budget is balanced in 2023/24.
But a lot of things need to go right for that to happen. First, the Kinder Morgan pipeline would need to be built on time. I am a very strong supporter of this and other pipeline projects that would get Alberta’s products safely to tidewater, but I have real concerns with any budget that assumes the successful completion of a project that faces such significant opposition.
The budget also assumes a substantially higher oil price, it assumes Enbridge Line 3 will be in operation on time, and it assumes the government will not go over-budget on their future spending. Given the government has yet to stick to their own spending forecasts in past budgets, it seems very risky to assume they will in the future.
I will continue to push for improved fiscal discipline in the Legislature on your behalf, while also advocating for efficiencies and improvements to the delivery of the front-line public services we all rely on.
As always, I encourage you to share your ideas and feedback. You can reach my office at Calgary.Elbow@assembly.ab.ca. or (403) 252-0346 any time.