February 23, 2017 (Calgary) – Alberta Party leader Greg Clark issued the following statement on the release of the third quarter fiscal update.
“When I saw today’s update I was literally speechless. When resource revenues come in more than $1 billion higher than expected, the deficit should go down. But it’s $800 million more than budgeted. And that’s not because of the tragedy in Ft. McMurray. Operating expenses are up $774 million; what monumental level of mismanagement is required to go so far over a budget passed just nine months ago? Again, these expenses exclude the Ft. McMurray wildfire.
The NDP’s corporate tax hike resulted in nearly $1 billion less revenue. This isn’t caused by the economic downturn; remember, this budget was written only nine months ago. There’s no question the massive drop is a result of tax leakage from companies filing their taxes (legally) in provinces with a lower tax rate. Alberta used to benefit from this, but not anymore.
The only reason the deficit isn’t even higher is a $770 million windfall from AIMCo. But the NDP have put future gains at risk, removing financial literacy from the requirements to become an AIMCo director. It is truly mind-boggling.
The NDP have managed to erode Albertans’ desire to take action on climate change with their botched rollout of the climate plan. A carbon tax can be an effective policy tool, and it’s important we move on from coal-fired electricity and increase our use of renewables, but with a cost overrun of yet another $1 billion Albertans are right to be upset.
I am genuinely worried for our province. The NDP are fooling themselves and Albertans if they think this represents responsible budgeting. It doesn’t. True leadership ensures spending stays in line with the economy without cutting front-line services. Albertans expect and deserve better from their government.”
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