“Overall this budget lays out a responsible economic plan that will serve as a shock absorber for our short term challenges and grow the economy over the long term,” Finance Minister Joe Ceci said.
The NDP budget comes with a $26.8 billion deficit over the next three years, measured as a total drop in net financial assets. This will bring Alberta to a record $47.4 billion in debt by 2019, and cost $1.3 billion in debt-serving costs by 2017. Ceci plans to balance the budget in 2019 after running a $5.4 billion deficit in 2016/17, $4.4 billion deficit in 2017/18, and finally a $2.1 billion deficit the year before it is projected to balance.
- $4.8 billion in operation borrowing;
- $512 million in new corporate welfare bureaucracies;
- $6.1 billion in new spending;
- Overly optimistic 26% increase to revenues by 2019;
- $2.7 billion in new taxes, 80 per cent directed to government sector compensation;
- Net negative financial assets by 2017, where the debt will outweigh the Heritage Fund; and
- The projection of a 12th consecutive provincial deficit
The Wildrose Party was quick to criticize the first budget tabled by the NDP led government.
“Tax increases are now hitting every Albertan, the cost of government is higher than it’s ever been, and by the time the NDP are done, Alberta will be buried under billions of dollars in interest payments and every individual will have less money in their pockets,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said.
“The long decline of the Alberta Advantage continues under this budget,” Wildrose Shadow Minister of Finance Derek Fildebrandt said. “This is a plan to recklessly hike debt, taxes and spending without any plan to pay for it and get back to a balanced budget. Albertans do not need ideological experiments with new corporate welfare bureaucracies and a debt ceiling that will exceed $47 billion, but a common-sense plan to get spending under control, protect jobs and return to fiscal sanity.”
To view the budget click here.