Albertans need a plan to balance the budget

Without a plan, the government is flying blind

Albertans need a plan to balance the budgetIt’s ironic to procrastinate on planning. Sure, things will change, and any plan will have to change too, but it’s still essential to have some ideas about where to go and how to get there. There will never be a better time to make a plan. Yet Alberta is putting off its financial planning. It…

Alberta government throwing money away on oil projects

The history of government attempting to pick winners and losers in a market-based economy is absolutely abysmal

Alberta government throwing money away on oil projectsOne of the eternal questions of public policy is: should governments get into bed with private businesses? Whether it’s called a public-private partnership, buying a controlling interest for taxpayers, investing in the technologies of tomorrow or just avoiding a business failure on our watch, the debate over whether the overall idea of government investing in…

How to wreck Alberta’s path to a balanced budget

Cave in to government employee unions during negotiations

How to wreck Alberta’s path to a balanced budgetLike boxers standing in the middle of the ring before a big fight, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and government union bosses are in a stare-down before the big battle of 2021: government employee contract negotiations. For years, these negotiations were foregone conclusions. Premiers would talk tough and then cave. Politicians weren’t betting with their own…

Alberta must get its fiscal house in order without another oil boom

But any plan for fiscal austerity can’t ignore the elephant in the room – extraordinary health-care spending

Alberta must get its fiscal house in order without another oil boomAlberta’s debt has grown exponentially over the last decade, surging from under $10 billion in 2010 to $98 billion in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has set off a trap that earlier provincial administrations laid by their excessive reliance on fossil-fuel revenues. On Feb. 25, Finance Minister Travis Toews announced the province would start 2022 with…

Which sector spends the most on the environment? Oil and gas

Between 2006 and 2018 the oil and gas sector spent $28.1 billion on environmental protection; ALL other industries combined spent $39.6 billion

Which sector spends the most on the environment? Oil and gasBy Mark Milke and Ven Venkatachalam Canadian Energy Centre As two people not born in Alberta but who live here now – one of us came from British Columbia and the other from India – we’re constantly amazed at the misinformation about the province and one of Canada’s biggest economic contributors: the oil and gas…

Alberta’s Budget 2021 shows a lack of effort to find savings

The UCP government is spending more than the NDP

Alberta’s Budget 2021 shows a lack of effort to find savingsAlberta’s Budget 2021 blew the roof off spending restraint, leaving taxpayers with a simple question: businesses and families have found ways to save money during the pandemic and downturn, so why is the Alberta government the only place that can’t find savings? To be fair to Finance Minister Travis Toews, he is finding some savings…

Alberta taxpayers need some wins in upcoming legislative session

An Alberta Taxpayer Protection Act, recall legislation, and a fair deal for the province within Canada a good place to start

Alberta taxpayers need some wins in upcoming legislative sessionWith the Alberta government steamrolling towards a $100-billion debt tab, things aren’t exactly rainbows and lollipops for taxpayers these days. Fortunately, there are three ways MLAs can help taxpayers get ahead in the upcoming legislative session: increase government accountability, find savings at the top of the bureaucratic pyramid and reignite Alberta’s fight for fairness. It’s…

Alberta must reject tax hikes and commit to balancing the budget

Albertans need tax hikes like they need a hole in the head

Alberta must reject tax hikes and commit to balancing the budgetBudget 2021 is right around the corner and there’s two commitments taxpayers expect from Finance Minister Travis Toews: no tax hikes and a plan to balance the budget. Albertans need tax hikes like we need a hole in the head. Alberta lost 73,000 jobs over the last year. Businesses can’t afford higher taxes either. About…

Alberta’s budget cuts not aggressive enough: report

Alberta's spending reduction plans much smaller than previous governments that wanted to eliminate the deficit, says Fraser Report

Alberta’s budget cuts not aggressive enough: reportThe Alberta government’s plan to eliminate the budget deficit by 2022/23 is less aggressive — both by timeline and by the amount of spending reductions — than previous successful deficit-reduction plans by other governments across Canada, says a new report released Thursday by public policy think tank the Fraser Institute.  “The recent Alberta budget represents…

Alberta has much to teach Ontario on budgeting

The Alberta government has not only set out a better direction on program spending, it also has a better plan on taxes

Alberta has much to teach Ontario on budgetingAlberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government delivered its first budget in October following the United Conservative Party’s victory over the NDP earlier this year. That budget sets a course Ontario should follow. Kenny’s mandate from voters was similar to that of Ontario Premier Doug Ford: to reverse course on the previous administration’s overspending, deficits and tax…

Alberta government has few options for reducing costs: report

Any cuts must be made judiciously, taking into account the fact that services must be maintained at certain levels, says U of C report author

Alberta government has few options for reducing costs: reportShort of imposing a sales tax, and hampered by low energy revenues, the Alberta government has few options for reducing expenditures and making a dent in it’s $8.8-billion deficit, says a new report by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy. “The most obvious area for the new government to cut would therefore be…

Inflated employee pay at the heart of Alberta government’s debt

From wages to benefits to job security to early retirement, government employee compensation must be constrained

Inflated employee pay at the heart of Alberta government’s debtBy Charles Lammam and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute Alberta’s public finances are in rough shape. The government of Premier Rachel Notley expects to run another budget deficit this year (estimated at $8.8 billion) and has no plan to balance the books until at least 2023-24. Since 2014-15, the province has added more than $33…

Help Alberta’s workers by cutting corporate taxes

Lowering corporate taxes means massive increase in business investment, higher wages for workers, lower prices for consumers

Help Alberta’s workers by cutting corporate taxesThis is a tale of two very different Alberta budgets and a lesson on the impact of corporate tax rates. In 2001, the Progressive Conservative government aggressively attacked the province’s corporate tax burden. “Alberta should respond to the worldwide trend to lower corporate income tax rates,” the budget document noted. “If we don’t, we risk…

Alberta sinks deeper into a sea of red ink

The more the government spends on servicing its debt, the less is left over for priorities that Albertans value such as health care

Alberta sinks deeper into a sea of red inkBy Steve Lafleur and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute When people think of the long lost “Alberta Advantage,” they often think first about the province’s tax advantage over other provinces. Specifically, the 10 per cent single rate personal and corporate income taxes that prevailed until 2015. But Alberta enjoyed another fiscal advantage – all other…

Alberta buys another ticket on the resource revenue roller-coaster

Despite promises to end the reliance on resource royalties, Rachel Notley's government keeps piling up the debt and looking to the same revenue source

Alberta buys another ticket on the resource revenue roller-coasterBy Ben Eisen and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute Before forming government, Rachel Notley and the Alberta NDP vowed to get the province “off of the resource revenue roller-coaster.” So it’s ironic that now-Premier Notley’s third budget promises to take the province on yet another ride. Her government’s vague and risky “path to budget balance”…

Alberta crushed beneath a growing mountain of debt

The slow path to balance means the province will continue adding debt by the bucketful for many years, penalizing future taxpayers

Alberta crushed beneath a growing mountain of debtBy Ben Eisen and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute The Alberta government’s 2018 budget figures would be shocking if Albertans weren’t already accustomed to such numbers. The operating deficit is expected to be $8.8 billion in 2018-19, down slightly from its peak of $10.8 billion two years ago. It’s difficult to contextualize such a large…

Alberta can learn big lessons from a small First Nation

Run a surplus when times are good. Don’t build up spending commitments that are unsustainable in less prosperous times

Alberta can learn big lessons from a small First NationOne of the greatest Indigenous success stories is the Fort McKay First Nation, in the heart of the oilsands country. It has never produced a drop of oil or earned a dollar in royalties, but it has achieved a standard of living comparable to other Canadian communities by selling services to oilsands companies – janitorial…

Alberta’s fiscal fiasco threat to future generations of Albertans

Despite an improving economy, the provincial government still projects $9.1-billion deficit

Alberta’s fiscal fiasco threat to future generations of AlbertansBy Steve Lafleur and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute The Alberta government recently released its third-quarter fiscal update. While the update contains some good news about the economy, the outlook for provincial finances remains dire. The government expects a $9.1-billion deficit this fiscal year and it has no intention of balancing the budget until 2023-24. First, the…

Balancing Alberta’s budget by 2023-24 isn’t good enough

Albertans have more debt, continued reliance on volatile natural resource revenue and higher taxes to look forward to

Balancing Alberta’s budget by 2023-24 isn’t good enoughBy Steve Lafleur and Ben Eisen The Fraser Institute The Alberta government’s large and persistent budget deficits remain one of the most important policy problems facing the province. This year, the province expects another deficit of more than $10 billion and forecasts call for a nearly identical deficit next year. The government of Premier Rachel Notley is…