EDMONTON, AB: Despite higher oil prices, today’s third quarter fiscal update paints a bleak economic picture for Albertans struggling with job losses, record deficit and ballooning debt, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.
Alberta is set to see the deficit climb to $10.8 billion, with a staggering $12.3 billion in borrowing and a $13.4 billion drop in net financial assets. According to Statistics Canada, Alberta has seen 45,700 full-time jobs vanish during the current fiscal year, with 24,000 full time jobs lost just last month.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said it’s clear the NDP’s budget has only made a bad situation worse for Alberta families who are struggling to get by.
“Record spending, record borrowing, coal shut downs, caps on the oil sands, more red tape for businesses and a massive new carbon tax are all holding our province back from realizing its potential,” Jean said. “If the NDP refuses to reduce the size of government, they will set Alberta down the path of massive interest payments where billions of dollars are drained from health and education, or Albertans will see even more massive NDP tax increases.”
Despite promising that hiking taxes on businesses would fix Alberta’s budget woes, the NDP’s budget has seen a shocking $981 million drop in business tax revenues this year.
Alberta currently spends over $2,500 more per-capita than British Columbia. If Alberta spent the same levels on government as British Columbia, the deficit would be significantly reduced or eliminated.
Wildrose Shadow Finance Minister Derek Fildebrandt said Albertans continue to be shocked with a budget that is driving Alberta down a reckless path of record debt and deficit.
“This is nothing short of a balance sheet meltdown. Minister Ceci and the NDP have no realistic plan to fix this mess that will only lead to even more massive tax increases on the backs of businesses and families,” Fildebrandt said. “The Alberta Advantage is gone, and now the NDP is determined to make our situation even worse.”
Annual interest payments on Alberta’s debt will amount to over $1 billion this year and will climb to over $2 billion by 2019.
Last March, Wildrose released 10 recommendations that would reduce operational spending by $2 billion without harming front line services.