On Thursday, March 26 the provincial government introduced its budget, proposing one of the largest tax hikes in Alberta’s history. The government’s expenditures however, will change very little with the exception of some small cuts to health care and senior services.
The small cuts to Al- berta Health Services are a major irony embedded in the budget. Albertans will now pay approximately $567 million annually of new fees as a result of the new Health Care levy, (a.k.a. premium), and not a cent of this levy will help to actually pay for additional or improved health care. It’s called a health care levy, but it is in reality just a tax that is applied to the general revenues (coffers) of the province.
Alberta’s 2015 budget is emblematic of a greater problem. Government spending is not changing and taxes are going up. The government’s spending deficit is now more than $5 billion this year, and the provincial debt is expected to rise to well over $34 billion by 2019.
To put this in perspective on a smaller scale, the government approved spending $10 million dollars for a golf course in 2015, and another $300 million for carbon capture and storage. This is in addition to the $1 billion dollars that this government has already given to companies for carbon capture and storage.
They are doing this even though no technology has been proven to actually work.
Another hidden gem in this year’s spending, the government approved and created a new paid position called a “Fish Guardian”. It is not known what these “Fish Guardians” will be paid or what they will do.
In summary, the budget will be passed sometime in the next 30-days, or we might just have an election.