EDMONTON, AB – Monday, Wildrose Leader Heather Forsyth introduced Bill 207, the Independent Budget Officer Act, to provide taxpayers with transparent, non-partisan budget analysis of the provinces finances.
The office’s mandate as written in the legislation would include: providing independent analysis of economic trends, the budget and quarterly updates, and when requested, providing research for independent committees of the Legislative Assembly and estimate the true financial cost of any program or expense under the Legislature’s jurisdiction.
“There is no government in Canada that more heavily politicizes its own budget numbers in order to advance its own agenda,” Forsyth said. “We saw just last month Premier Jim Prentice miss his budget estimate by over a billion dollars in an attempt to justify bringing in one of the largest tax increases in Alberta history. An independent budget officer will put an end to the government fudging their own numbers for their own political gain.”
All 50 US states have an independent budget office, while the federal governments of Canada and the United Kingdom have established them as well. The Calgary Chamber of Commerce has previously called for the creation of a provincial budget office saying, “Budget numbers that are credible and widely trusted help businesses plan to prepare their own business plans without the uncertainty of rising taxes, delayed capital spending and excessive public borrowing which crowds out private borrowing opportunities.”
“Given the record of Mr. Prentice supporting similar legislation on the federal level, I would hope to receive bi-partisan support for Bill 207,” Forsyth said. “This office would put an end to the PC government’s endless politicization of the budget and be a crucial step to protect Alberta taxpayers from wasteful spending.”