Provincial Budget 2018: Is This Really a Path Back to Balance?
March 22, 2018
The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce was pleased to see Budget 2018 reference a path back to balance, but the Province’s plan to eliminate the $8.8 billion deficit relies too heavily on optimistic revenue projections.
The budget included a plan for eliminating the deficit by 2023, however it depends on factors outside of the Province’s control, like the Trans Mountain expansion and global oil prices.
“We need this pipeline to go ahead and we applaud the Premier’s determination to get it built,” said Janet Riopel, President & CEO of the Edmonton Chamber. “However, the government should base its long-term budgeting on factors it can control, such as eliminating waste and finding efficiencies in order to reduce the deficit.”
Budget 2018 increases operational spending by 3.7 per cent, continuing the trend of growing government spending without a clear plan back to balance. This will lead to prolonged fiscal pain and an unmanageable legacy for future generations.
“By 2023 our province will be a staggering $96 billion in debt,” said Riopel. “How will our children, or their children, ever repay that?”
The Edmonton Chamber was pleased to see that Budget 2018 included funding for initiatives that will drive investment, including expanding the Petroleum Diversification Program, expanding investor tax credits and creating a digital industries credit.
“These tax credits will help, but they don’t address the growing cost burden on business. The piling-on of higher taxes, fees, levies and regulations are all eroding the business community’s ability to compete and thrive,” said Riopel. “Alberta needs policies that will make us a magnet for investment, innovation, diversification, strength and growth.”
Edmonton Chamber of Commerce