Alberta’s finance minister said earlier today the province is on track to record a $5.9-billion deficit this year as the oil crunch hits families and businesses. Joe Ceci released figures for the first three months of the 2015-16 fiscal year which began April 1.
“There is no doubt many Alberta families and businesses are feeling the effects of the dramatic drop in oil prices,” said Ceci. “That’s why our government is focused on building a plan for job creation and diversification of our economy.”
However, Wildrose MLA Derek Derek Fildebrandt, the Shadow Minister of Finance & Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said in a press conference that the real deficit is $9.1 billion dollars. The increase is due to the Fildebrandt’s inclusion of provincial borrowing, and money taken from savings.
The Wildrose Party issued a press release stating “the NDP’s first quarter fiscal update contains a record $9.1 billion shortfall with massive spending increases, overly optimistic revenue projections, accelerated borrowing, all with no economic plan or budget to back it up”.
“What we need is a dose of reality from this government to get serious about the economy, jobs and the challenges facing our province, but instead we have unprecedented spending and a record $9.1 billion deficit,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “This is the largest net financial drop in Alberta’s history. The NDP clearly has no serious plan to deal with the economy. Instead of showing any kind of fiscal restraint, this forecast demonstrates a vacuum of leadership from our government.”
“The NDP financial plan doesn’t add up. Instead they are ramping up spending and bringing in tax increases that are depressing our economy,” Fildebrandt said.
Fildebrandt further added that “the NDP is out-of-step with the economic reality of today’s report, the province is facing a ruinous budget forecast, and they can’t even be bothered to put forward their plan. This is a government on auto-pilot while they campaign for Thomas Mulcair. We need real action that rolls back risky economic experiments, reduces and controls spending and has a vision to get Alberta’s fiscal house in order.”