Our government is proud to deliver its much-anticipated Budget 2019 – A plan for jobs and the economy. This is a balanced plan to create jobs, grow the economy, and protect vital services. Budget 2019 was built upon the mandate that a record one million Albertans voted for in the last election.
We are taking bold steps to turn our economy around with three key priorities: getting Albertans back to work, making life easier for Albertans, and standing up for Alberta.
Job creation will be driven by the enshrinement of our job creation tax cut which will strengthen Alberta’s competitiveness, restore investor confidence, and demonstrate that Alberta is Open for Business. Reducing unnecessary red tape and streamlining government processes will help businesses succeed and allow job creators to reinvest in growth. Budget 2019 includes a $75 million investment to support innovation as well as a $10.7 billion post-secondary investment to support a highly skilled workforce.
To achieve the goal of making life easier for Albertans, our government will raise healthcare spending by $200 million over four years and increase funding for Children’s Services, Community and Social Services, and Seniors and Housing. Education will be fully funded in keeping with the campaign promise we made to Albertans. In order to maintain or increase support for the core services that Albertans deserve, this budget significantly reduces unnecessary, inefficient, and wasteful spending. Comparable provinces spend less per capita on public services while realizing better results. We are focused on bringing our spending more in line with other provinces, attaining more affordable spending levels, and getting more value for our tax dollars.
Albertans told our government they want our province to be treated fairly, to stand up to the federal government, and to stand up for our energy and agricultural industries. We are committed to working with the federal government and all provinces and territories to review major federal transfers. We will work hard to ensure that these transfers do not discriminate against any one jurisdiction.
Responsible fiscal management is a key principle that our government takes very seriously- and which Albertans hired us to take on. This new fiscal plan will balance the budget in four years, rein in the growth of government expenses and – once the budget is balanced – allow us to pay down Alberta’s debt.
The rate at which our province has been accruing debt is not only unsustainable; it also constrains our ability to invest in our future. In ten years, our province has gone from $1.2 billion in debt to $63 billion in debt. Interest payments on the current debt account for 3.5% of our budget. To put this in perspective, we are currently paying five million dollars a day to bankers and bond holders. These funds could otherwise have gone toward paying the annual salaries of 30,000 teachers or funding 35,000 long-term care beds or building a new school every day.
By acting now and reducing spending by 2.8 per cent over four years, we not only protect services Albertans deserve but we also ensure that we will not have to face the 1990s-style double digit cuts. Our government is committed to taking a balanced approach to end the pattern of overspending in our province and living within our means.
Honourable Dale Nally
Morinville-St. Albert MLA