EDMONTON, AB – The almost $700 million in new spending today is compounded by a $1.5 billion shortfall in the NDP’s tax agenda and clashes with the $1.8 billion in new spending announced by NDP House Leader Brian Mason in the legislature, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.
On June 16, Mason said 10 per cent of the $18 billion interim supply bill is new spending, or roughly $1.8 billion. Today, the NDP instead announced new spending to be at $775 million, and then reduced the number further to $682 million.
“We told the NDP last week we were here to help make their mini-budget more transparent to Albertans, but so far they have thrown up three different numbers without even giving a clear picture on how much revenue they are expecting to take in,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “The NDP can’t expect Albertans to just give them a blank cheque without being able to back up their numbers.”
Currently, it is too late for the NDP to apply a promised tax-hike on incomes, and their business tax increase will only be for half the year. This $1.5 billion decline in tax revenue means they will actually be taking in less than the Prentice PC tax plan. With the new spending announcement today, depending on which number the government chooses, it only guarantees the province will run an even bigger deficit with more red ink.
“It looks like the only thing the NDP are going to raise faster than taxes is spending and debt. Families don’t make new spending commitments without the money to do it, and neither should government,” Wildrose Shadow Finance Minister Derek Fildebrandt said. “Without reducing government spending in other departments, the numbers just don’t work. The NDP seem to be picking numbers out of thin air, without being clear with Albertans where this money is coming from and how much further they’ll be taking Alberta into debt.”
The mini-budget was passed through supply in under three hours with little debate, and no details on revenue or what the total deficit facing Albertans is.