EDMONTON, AB: The NDP government’s 2016 budget is the worst budget deficit in Alberta’s history marked with reckless new taxes, a shrinking economy and billions of dollars wasted on dangerous meddling in our energy sector, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.
The budget rang in with a higher than expected deficit of $10.8 billion and plunged Alberta $13.3 billion deeper into debt, which is more than what the government gives to Alberta Health Services. The NDP also stuck taxpayers with a mind-boggling $2 billion hit because of their PPA/Balancing Pool mistake, and another $1.1 billion to kill coal jobs.
During the 2016 fiscal year, the economy contracted a stunning 3.5 per cent.
“This is without question the worst year on the books in Alberta’s history and the NDP government is working twice as hard this year to try and outdo themselves,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “Their tax hikes were reckless, their legislation scared billions of investment away, and their dangerous levels of spending and billions wasted on failed energy experiments will be a stain on this NDP government Albertans won’t soon forget. Albertans have had enough and are ready for a different path that will put Alberta back on the right track.”
The NDP’s borrowing binge has left Alberta on track to be more than $90 billion in debt according to the latest estimates from credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s.
“We have warned and, we have raised the alarm, and none of it has done anything to make the NDP begin to take Alberta’s fiscal crisis seriously,” Wildrose Shadow Finance Minister Derek Fildebrandt said. “Alberta needs a complete fiscal turnaround with a bold, new budgetary course that understands that you can’t perpetually spend money that you don’t have.”
Despite promising last election that raising income taxes on individuals and businesses would fix Alberta’s bleak fiscal picture, the government raked in $1.2 billion less off personal income and corporate taxes than projected.
Earlier this year, Wildrose released the 2017 Pre-Budget Recommendations that would see the government save billions in operational expenses and establish a Fiscal Reform Commission that would make recommendations to shrink the size of government and grow the economy.