Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Alberta's Deficit Budget

It's official. After 16 years of surpluses, Alberta's government will run a $4.7 billion deficit.

It seems whoever's in charge of updating the Alberta Finance site was having a bit of a nap since it took them almost half an hour to actually post Budget 2009 information after the 3 pm embargo was lifted.

Be that as it may, here are some of the so-called highlights:

* $23.2 billion over three years to build health facilities, schools, and roads – includes funding for carbon capture and storage, and GreenTRIP.
* 3.7-per-cent increase in operating spending to address population growth and inflation.
* Priority areas of health, education, advanced education, seniors and children services account for 75 per cent of the operating increase.
* Taxes remain lowest in Canada; tobacco tax increases and liquor markup is raised.
* Forecast $36.4 billion in spending in 2009-10; $31.7 billion in revenue.
* $4.7 billion deficit forecast for 2009-10; surplus forecast in 2012-13.
* $2 billion in fiscal corrective actions to be taken in 2010 if situation does not improve beyond forecast.
* New fiscal framework allows for transfers from Sustainability Fund to offset deficits.

(Pssst...read the fine print.)

Tories will hate all of the spending but they'll still keep voting these jokers in decade after decade anyway because they're too scared to try something new. Some of them are even talking up a new Ralph Klein revolution. If you survived the last one here, you'll know just how insane that was. I don't know why, considering the absolute global failure of Father Knows Best conservative economic philosophy, the majority of Albertans support the status quo. Riches rot the brain. That must be it.

And liberals? Well, nobody listens to us anyway and the Alberta Liberal Party is busy begging for donations for office rent and staff while the NDP has no response to the budget on its site either. When will these parties wake up and smell the immediacy of the internets? Their members do perform well in the leg - holding the over-bloated egos of the tories to the fire - but they're truly lacking in stoking up some much-needed left-wing populism in this province. Where's our revolution?

As for me, as an AISH recipient, I have to breath a huge sigh of relief for the $100/month increase I'm getting. Now if only I wasn't spending 60% of my income on rent.


Budget 2009 site

The Calgary Herald has extensive analysis.

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