Alberta budget: tough choices for Jason Kenney

Marco Green
Февраля 26, 2021

But Toews said there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

The cost of the COVID-19 vaccine program remains uncertain, although it could cost more than $100 million this year, and will come out of the $1.25 billion in contingency fund. Instead, this deficit has tripled to more than $ 21 billion, according to the latest economic update in November.

The United Conservative Party government expects the provincial economy to reach pre-pandemic levels by 2022 and said the deficit will shrink to C$11 billion in 2022/23 and C$8 billion in 2023/24.

The full 2021-24 Fiscal Plan is available here. Total expense is $58.4 billion in 2022-23 and $58.9 billion in 2023-24. "The Jobs Now program will be an important program that will provide on-the-job training for Albertans. It's a budget that protects our health-care system and positions Alberta to emerge from COVID-19 stronger than ever", said Toews. This change is primarily due to rapid vaccine development, economic activity and demand for oil that is expected to follow. Annual debt interest charges nearly $3 billion. In the coming year, the province is estimating revenues will recover slightly, coming in at $43.7 billion thanks to factors like higher resource revenue, more income tax. The province invested $1.5 billion in the pipeline, which was killed when U.S. President Joe Biden was inaugurated in January.

The budget includes no new taxes and new tax increases, though the de-indexing of personal tax exemption limits will continue.

"Adequately resourcing health care is our No. 1 priority in Budget 2021", said Toews, who added that the government was not on a path of cost-cutting, but of finding efficiencies. With another record investment in health, our government's absolute commitment to Albertans' health and well-being is clear.

Of its $23 billion in expenses, the Health Ministry plans to keep operating spending flat at $21.4 billion until 2023-24. The entire public sector will see an overall three per cent reduction - or $822 million - in compensation to $26.7 billion.

The 2020-21 budget, which has not been finalized, includes an estimated $1.5 billion for things like PPE, contact tracing and testing for COVID-19, and the province's portion of critical worker benefit, some of which will go to nurses, critical care workers and other staff in the health care system.

Post-secondary institutions take a cut. The province also plans to invest almost C$21 billion over three years in construction projects to create new jobs and support economic recovery.

To fall to $20.8 billion by 2024.

"Alberta is broke. And we aren't talking about darn-I-missed-a-cellphone-payment type broke".

The health staffing increase represents a jump of four per cent from past year. "Now, it is time for the rest of the public sector to do the same", said Rosin.

The Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta's finances found that the Alberta government would spend $10 billion less every single year if it brought its per person spending in line with comparable provinces, such as British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

"I don't think too many Albertans are laying away at night wishing the Premier's office would increase its budget by $2 million", said Terrazzano. That means Albertans' tax brackets won't rise with inflation as they used to, leading to higher tax bills.

"We're not on a path of cost cutting".

Premier Jason Kenney has ruled out the introduction of a provincial sales tax.

"We are working with health and (Alberta Health Services) to make sure they have all the resources they need to deal with the pandemic", Toews said.

The NDP had called on Kenney to invest in health care.

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