The reviews are in. Alberta's first post-oil boom budget is a bust.
It tweaked the revenue system without touching the huge tax benefits for wealthy individuals and corporations. Ordinary taxpayers are going to have to make up the difference.
“Alberta could have fixed our unfair tax system, which still leaves us $10.6 billion lower in tax revenue than the second-lowest tax jurisdiction in Canada,” said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “Instead, Alberta’s families will feel the impact of larger class sizes, fewer students enrolling in post-secondary education, seniors losing their drug benefits, and cities losing much-needed infrastructure funds.”
Lower and middle-income individuals and families will be directly impacted by:
- A failure to provide funding for enrolment growth in schools at a time when classrooms are already bursting at the seams.
- $3million in cuts to Support Services in schools by $3million, meaning even fewer support staff.
- Nearly $200 million cuts from the operational budget for Environment, including significant cuts to dealing with climate change.
- A cut of $59 million to the Seniors Drug Benefit.
- A further $80 million cut from post-secondary education, an area which is still reeling from the massive cuts made two years ago.
- Axing $720 million from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI), which funds municipal infrastructure priorities including expansions of public transit
- Elimination of 2,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the public service.
“Alberta squandered the opportunity for provincial leadership, innovation and compassion," says Dennis Howlett, executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness. "It is outrageous that one one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world can't get its head around proper fiscal management.”
Want to see an example of how a country can make the most of its resources for its people and its future? Take a look at this example from Norway.