EDMONTON, AB: Tuesday, during budget debate, Finance Minister Joe Ceci admitted the NDP government is deliberately hiding the costs of the carbon tax and expenses under the ‘Climate Leadership Plan’ when calculating annual spending increases.
In the NDP budget, the government boasts about managing to “control” spending increases to under the rate of population growth plus inflation.
Those spending increases do not include the billions of new government spending created as a direct result of the NDP government’s carbon tax.
For example, the government claims spending is only increasing by 2.7 per cent from Budget 2017 to Budget 2018. Including the carbon tax slush fund expenses, however, means Albertans will see a 3.8 per cent increase in spending, well above the expected 3.3 per cent growth in population and inflation.
“This scheme is nothing but a shell game being desperately played by Ceci to excuse his budget dripping with red ink. He is trying to pretend that spending billions of dollars on green slush funds isn’t government spending. Albertans don’t buy it,” Wildrose Shadow Finance Minister Derek Fildebrandt said. “The fact is, the NDP have conveniently decided to leave the carbon tax slush fund out of total government spending for spin; it’s dishonest.”
The carbon tax expenses are the only line item in the Alberta budget treated differently. When all operational expenses are included, the increase from budget 2016 to 2017 is a staggering 2.3 billion, or 5.2 per cent (see page 114 of Fiscal Plan).
Fildebrandt called on the government to immediately stop misleading Albertans by ensuring statements about spending increases include all spending.
“It’s clear the NDP are embarrassed by how quickly the size of government is ballooning with their carbon tax slush fund,” Fildebrandt said. “They need to start telling the truth about how quickly the size of government is expanding under their watch.”