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First you look at the root cause. Alberta has a spending problem: the provincial government spends more per capita then any province. This is especially bad because Alberta has the youngest average age, which should mean lower health-care costs.
If Alberta got its spending back in line, then I would have no problem with PST. I do not want PST simply to pay for wage increases for government employees.
To put the 2,000 government employees in perspective, Husky just let go of 600 employees. There was almost no commentary on this but, I bet there will be hundreds on how unfair it is to cut 2,000 government employees.
Most people I know in industry that still have a job have had their wages frozen or decreased since 2015. –Practical Guy From Alberta
What I personally see as the root cause of Alberta’s problems is a government that tries to run the province on oil revenues instead of taxes. If the government had the discipline to run the province on taxes alone, then when the various unions got their raises, they would be accompanied by tax increases. Oil revenue should be going into diversifying the economy and saving for future generations. –BMCBAD
Other than a brief four years of the NDP, Alberta has been governed by conservatives of different stripes since 1971. Jason Kenney will continue to demonize Justin Trudeau, the Liberals, Rachel Notley, the rest of Canada and anyone else that isn’t UCP or Conservative, instead of acknowledging that mismanagement of Alberta’s economy and resources by the successive conservative governments is largely to blame for the current misfortunes of the province. That this economic trough would come can hardly be a surprise to anyone, since there have been many since that first oil strike in 1947, which is why it has always been known as a boom-and-bust economy. The Heritage Savings Trust Fund was a stroke of brilliance when the Lougheed government introduced it in 1976 “to save for the future, to strengthen or diversify the economy, and to improve the quality of life of Albertans,” but has been so badly pillaged over the years that, according to its 2018-19 annual report, the “fair value” of the fund stood at $18.2 billion on March 31, 2019. The Government Pension Fund Global of Norway (its oil fund) was created in 1990 and currently has over $1-trillion in assets. –Jake-Town
No retail sales tax? –Cynical in Toronto
For the life of me, I cannot figure out why Jason Kenney is looking at only one side of the ledger. Scratch that – he is actually cutting corporate taxes significantly.
No question that Alberta has a spending problem – its per capita expenditure is among the highest in the nation – but the lack of a sales tax and oil royalties about half of what they are in Texas or North Dakota is hurting too.
Cutting back on education when the population is set to grow is not a wise move, not when corporate taxes are getting a huge break, and not when revenue opportunities are staring him in the face.
While I think trying to return to balance is a laudable goal, his approach is deeply flawed. –WhistlingInTheDark
If your provincial economy is genuinely in trouble and you’re really trying to balance your budget, you don’t negate savings from cutting spending on ordinary people by giving money to large corporations and their shareholders at the same time.
It’s a long debunked myth that corporations always invest money from tax cuts in the province or create jobs. They often just enrich themselves and their shareholders. I don’t know why people still fall for this nonsense – certainly the cynical Jason Kenney should be well aware of the reality. At least leave corporate giveaways out of the initial cost-cutting budget if anyone is to believe the balanced budget rhetoric isn’t seen as cover for transferring wealth to the rich. –Nick Wright
As usual there are a lot of Alberta haters.
I suspect many of the haters are from Ontario. A province with about $350-billion of debt and no hope of ever balancing its budget. The $13-billion a year spent to service the debt would pay for a lot of education and health care.
Alberta is doing everything it can to not turn into an Ontario. It takes discipline.
Alberta’s books will be in order by 2022. Instead of criticizing Alberta, a look at Ontario’s own finances would be more appropriate. – T_Ball
That’s what leadership looks like. –Bookauthor
Wow, a Canadian politician who actually tries to balance the budget as promised. –Bill M_6
Driving around Calgary, I see road and other construction, mostly public-sector-funded, keeping the Alberta economy afloat and workers paying taxes. Now Jason Kenney wants to slash spending and jobs, which will risk collapsing the provincial economy. It will be interesting to read what economists write about Mr. Kenney’s recklessness. From my chair, Mr. Kenney’s plans will incinerate the economy and these plans are driven by ideology, not responsible business planning or plain common sense. For those Albertans already out of work or underemployed, they should get ready to welcome more people to the ranks. And for business owners, Mr. Kenney is slashing customer spending power and adding more uncertainty to the Alberta economy. Could be a good time to send Alberta MLAs a wake-up call. –ytdavid
A recession is the time to build infrastructure. There’s reduced competition from the private sector and vendors will be sharpening their pencils to keep their people working. It’s a wise use of tax dollars. –Automatic 250
Jason Kenney is doing exactly what any Canadian should be doing when their spending is outpacing their income.
When you keep spending what you haven’t got, you eventually end up broke. You can borrow like the Trudeau Liberals, but what you borrow has to be paid back. The money has to come from somewhere at some point.
Mr. Kenney is dealing with the Alberta shortfall now, while Mr. Trudeau simply keeps kicking the can down the road. –sanctimonious
It’s going to hurt but it’s about time. But I think it should go further by reducing golden parachutes to public servants as well. –vladastorian
Finally some common sense. Very refreshing and kudos to Alberta for having the fortitude to do this. They managed the finances irresponsibly during the boom times, and the whole mess wasn’t helped by the last few years of NDP rule. This needed to be done. It also needs to be done federally and in most of the other provinces, but so far no one has stepped up to the plate. Lots of talk from some and very little action. –Steve2014
You have to remember Alberta supports social programs in Quebec like universal day care. –Jack Reacher
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