Demand for a budget balance in Alberta fell on deaf ears, says the Canadian Taxpayers Federation – The Western Standard
Despite calling for budgetary equilibrium back into Alberta’s finances, the UCP leaves much to be desired – with fiscal conservatives disaffected with government spending, income taxes, the welfare of the Keystone XL corporations, and higher deficit spending.
Grassroots Conservatives Are Skeptical Prime Minister Jason Kenney may correct his administration in the future as the government in fiscal 2021 outperforms the NDP in its final year.
Franco Terrazzano, director of the Canadian Taxpayers Association in Alberta, described Treasury Secretary Travis Teows’ top-line spending as a heads-scratcher.
Despite laudable cuts in training, the CTF found more than 900 management bureaucrats on the Alberta Health Service’s sunshine list in 2019 for making more than $ 132,924.
The list didn’t include any frontline staff – just 11 vice presidents, 571 directors, 204 managers, and other management-type bureaucrats.
Given the scale of the spending problem, the Alberta government should make significant savings in every department outside of health care, he said.
For example, the executive council’s budget – the prime minister’s shop – will increase by $ 2 million this year.
Albertans need to see Kenney’s leadership in saving because spending big means more debt to pay off, he said.
The CTF estimates this year’s debt is expected to reach $ 116 billion. The interest on the debt is $ 2.8 billion, which will cost each Albertan $ 600.
Terrazzano said Albertans should be concerned if the government is not serious about finding savings because it will start reaching out to families to help cover their costs.
“It is such inefficiencies that led the Blue Ribbon Panel to conclude that if our per person spending were the same as British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, Alberta would spend $ 10 billion less each year,” he said.
“In 2021, the government is projected to spend $ 62 billion. By comparison, the New Democrats spent $ 56 billion last year. Even after considering inflation and population growth, the United Conservatives will outbid the NDP. “
During his time in the opposition, Prime Minister Jason Kenney described the NDP’s 2018 budget as a “fiscal train wreck”.
“You can’t tax your way out of a spending problem,” said Terrazzano.
“Families and businesses have tightened their belts for years, and it is time for our politicians to finally roll up their sleeves and tackle more than a decade of runaway spending.”
In February, Kenney took tax increases off the table and again publicly declared his commitment not to introduce provincial sales tax.
Toews, however, again alluded to the formation of a steering committee in his budget speech.
“This would be the worst time to put the government’s hand deeper in the pockets of taxpayers who are already dealing with enormous financial burdens,” said Kenney.
In the run-up to the 2019 budget, the Prime Minister promised not to levy taxes.
“It’s going to be a credible way of getting our finances back into balance without raising taxes,” Kenney said a month before the budget was presented.
However, the 2019 budget increased taxes through an income tax hike known as bracket creep.
Albertans will also pay higher income taxes this year unless the government stops the creep by moving the tax system with inflation, Terrazzano said.
Finance estimates that de-indexing the income tax system will cost Albertans $ 196 million this year. By the end of 2022, de-indexing is likely to have cost the Albertans more than $ 600 million.
The CTF rejected the idea that the Alberta government should consider a sales tax.
“We cannot ask families who are struggling to put food on the table to pay higher taxes for a bloated provincial government,” said Terrazzano, who took note of the long history of Albertanian politicians, and added taxpayers’ money to corporate welfare bust.
“If politicians are risking tax dollars instead of their own money, we might as well send them to the casino,” he said.
Kenney previously told the Albertans that he “would get the Alberta government out of the business of choosing winners and losers from the losing business.” Still, the province announced billions of dollars in corporate welfare, much like the NDP’s taxpayer investment in crude oil by rail.
With President Joe Biden’s decision to pull the plug on the Keystone XL pipeline, companies in Canada must build pipelines to alleviate the pipeline bottleneck in Canada.
“Taxpayers continue to be in debt because politicians block pipelines in Canada, and that’s wrong,” said Terrazzano, supporting Alberta’s legal fight against Ottawa’s No More Pipelines Law.
The CTF calculated that the pipeline deficit could cost taxpayers $ 12.8 billion between 2013 and 2023 by reducing federal government revenues. This means that a shortage of pipelines between 2013 and 2023 could cost every province and territory at least one new hospital.
A pipeline deficit could cost Alberta taxpayers up to $ 4.5 billion between 2020 and 2022, according to the provincial government’s 2020 budget.
“Taxpayers are still in debt because the politicians in Canada blocked pipelines and this has to stop,” said Terrazzano.
“We salute Prime Minister Jason Kenney for standing up for the Albertans and allowing taxpayers to defeat Ottawa’s No More Pipelines Law.”
Dhaliwal is Western Standard’s Edmonton reporter.