March 22, 2018 (Edmonton) – The 2018/2019 budget shows this government continues to avoid having an honest conversation with Albertans. Their path to a balanced budget is built on so many rosy assumptions and projections that it cannot be considered a credible plan.
Alberta Party Caucus leader Rick Fraser pointed out that the government isn’t treating Albertans with respect by trying to present the budget as something its not.
“The government is telling Albertans that they have a plan to balance, but that plan comes with a pretty significant asterisk.”
“In their absolute best case scenario, Albertans will have endured years of deficit and be looking at an accumulated debt of $100 billion by the time they balance,” Fraser said. “If there are even a few hiccups along the way, we can expect the date for balance to be pushed back even further and even more debt to be piled up on Albertans behalf. This plan is just not good enough.”
Fraser pointed to the possibility of the TransMountain pipeline being delayed as something the government is willfully ignoring.
“They need to inject a healthy dose of reality into this budget.”
Alberta Party Caucus Finance critic Greg Clark expressed his frustration that the government is playing games with the numbers.
“The so-called path to balance is total fantasy,” said Clark. “The NDP say that revenues will grow nearly 7% a year for the next five years, compared to just 2% from last year to this year.”
“If this is their idea of a responsible budget, Alberta is in a lot of trouble.”
Clark also called out changes in the way the budget is presented.
“It looks like the NDP are ashamed of the level of debt they’ve racked up, so they just changed the numbers. In every previous budget they showed total debt to GDP, but this year they went to net debt, which shows up nearly 50% lower.
“It’s a shell game. It’s shameful to hide the total debt number deep in the budget tables instead of reporting it in the simplified summary like they’ve done in years past.
“The NDP is trying to hide the true scale of their budget failures from Albertans.”
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Director of Communications
Alberta Party Caucus