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RCO





Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:49 pm    Post subject: Alberta's debt soars to $45 billion in new budget Reply with quote

( how is province that was doing so well only a few years ago, now have a $45 billion dollar debt , this is an example of ndp spending going out of control . Alberta's finances would of been worse off either way with oil prices down but this is crazy )



Alberta's debt soars to $45B, but budget has no big cuts, no new taxes

Capital spending of $9.2B includes new Edmonton hospital, schools, Red Deer courthouse

By Michelle Bellefontaine, CBC News Posted: Mar 16, 2017 2:19 PM MT| Last Updated: Mar 16, 2017 5:35 PM MT

The Alberta NDP said its latest budget is about making Albertans' lives better.

Alberta's debt is projected to soar to $45 billion in the coming year as the NDP government continues to borrow heavily to finance operations and build infrastructure.

The 2017-18 provincial budget unveiled Thursday by Finance Minister Joe Ceci lacks specific details about how the NDP government plans to return the province to a balanced budget or to start paying off the debt.

The $45 billion debt amounts to a nominal GDP ratio of 13.8 per cent with debt servicing costs of $1.4 billion.

The debt is forecast to hit $71.1 billion by 2019-20, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 19.5 per cent. Debt servicing costs by then are estimated at $2.3 billion.

This year's deficit is forecast at $10.3 billion, half a billion less than last year's budget deficit.

Ceci budget 2
Ceci said he expects the budget to be balanced by 2024. (CBC)

The government has no plans to raise taxes or cut services this year.

Ceci plans to reduce the deficit to $7.2 billion by 2019-20 by keeping operating spending increases to 2.2 per cent and 2.7 per cent in the next two fiscal years.

He said the province should return to balanced budgets by 2023.

"We're going to work to control spending below population [increases] plus inflation, and gradually reduce the deficit," he said. "And we're not going to make drastic cuts to the things that would only hurt Albertans to get to balance more quickly."

Opposition targets debt

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean called the budget a "debt-fuelled disaster."

"This budget threatens to send us over the fiscal cliff with higher spending, higher taxes and a plan that plunges Alberta, believe it or not, into $71 billion of debt by the time the NDP face voters in 2019," he said.

Interim Progressive Conservative Leader Ric McIver was also frustrated by the debt figures.

"Alberta's children, 20 and 30 years from now, will be paying for things that they don't get to enjoy, which is why I call this a huge intergenerational transfer of wealth," he said.

'Those poor kids in elementary school now don't know what's hitting them, but they sure will when they get a job and they start paying taxes."

Budget 2017 gives Albertans the first detailed look at how the government intends to spend the carbon levy, which came into effect Jan. 1.

The budget also earmarks money for new projects including 24 new or modernized schools, a hospital for Edmonton, a new Red Deer courthouse and a $131-million, 200-bed long-term care facility in Calgary for seniors with complex needs.

The government plans to borrow $6 billion for capital projects and $6.4 billion for operations.

Credit rating worries?

Last year, mounting debt, increased spending and the province's reluctance to impose a provincial sales tax caused three credit rating agencies to downgrade Alberta's credit rating following the April 2016 budget.

Ceci said he won't cut services Albertans need in a bid to balance the books. He wouldn't answer whether he thought his plan would satisfy the credit agencies.

"We're going to bring down the deficit and when we bring down the deficit to balance and we start to run surpluses, we will attack the debt in this province," he said.

Alberta uses the price of West Texas Intermediate crude in its budget estimates. The average price per barrel is estimated at $55 US.

As it did last year, the government has built a $500-million cushion into the budget in case oil prices drop lower than forecast.

The government estimates the carbon tax will bring in $1.04 billion in 2017-18, which will increase to $1.4 billion a year by 2019-20.

The fiscal plan has a chapter devoted to how the government plans to spend $5.3 billion in carbon revenue over three years.

Rebates to low- and middle-income Albertans are estimated at $1.5 billion over that period, nearly one-third of the total amount.

The government also intends to use that money for energy efficiency programs like the Residential No-Charge Energy Program and Commercial Solar Rebate Program ($566 million) as well as green infrastructure like transit and upgrades to hospitals and schools ($1.274 billion).

Although many public sector unions have contracts coming up for renewal this year, there are no increases built into the budget.

This doesn't mean the government is expecting zero salary increases, as it is standard practice to build budgets based on existing agreements.

Ceci would not say whether the government will ask unions to maintain current salary levels. He told reporters he would not negotiate in public.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/.....-1.4028447
RCO





Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alberta budget 2017: Winners and losers


Canadian Press

March 16, 2017 03:53 pm
Alberta budget 2017: Winners and losers

The Alberta government tabled its 2017-18 budget Thursday. Here are some of the winners and losers:

FULL COVERAGE: 2017 Alberta budget

Winners

Grade School Students and their parents — The budget will increase funding to match enrolment, build 10 new schools and upgrade or replace another 16. Schools fees paid by parents are also being cut by $54 million.

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2017: What’s in it for families?

Post-Secondary Students — The government will extend a tuition freeze for a third year. There is also a two per cent hike to operating grants for institutions.



Patients and Seniors — There’s money in the budget to build a new hospital in Edmonton, a continuing care centre in Calgary and build or upgrade care facilities provincewide.

The eco–conscious — Over the next three years, the province will reinvest $5.4 billion from the carbon tax into everything from free energy efficient light bulbs to rapid-transit projects.

Smokers and drinkers — The budget doesn’t contain any new hikes to cigarettes or liquor.

Losers

Corporations — Corporate profits were hit hard in 2015 and 2016 and the budget forecasts it will take another five years to recover.

Future Taxpayers — Even if oil prices rebound as expected, Alberta’s debt will be $71 billion by decade’s end with interest payments over $2 billion a year.

Current taxpayers — The budget contains no new tax cuts.

Natural gas prices — Prices are expected to remain weak due mainly to increasing production of US shale gas.

Fiscal hawks — The $10.3-billion deficit budget doesn’t heed the call of critics who wanted the NDP to rein in spending.



http://www.inews880.com/syn/98.....and-losers
RCO





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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

March 16, 2017 6:19 pm Updated: March 16, 2017 7:44 pm

Alberta budget 2017 receives mixed reaction

By Phil Heidenreich
Online journalist Global News



Opposition parties reacted swiftly to the Alberta NDP government’s 2017 budget presented on Thursday which projects a $10.3-billion deficit this year on revenue of $45 billion. While the budget will see Alberta go further into the red during already difficult economic times, it also promises a hospital, new schools and more money for seniors and social services.

Opposition parties

The Wildrose official opposition referred to the budget as “a debt-fueled disaster packed with higher taxes and more of the same economic policies that will cost families and hurt Alberta’s prosperity for generations to come.”

“The budget is a balance-sheet meltdown and mortgages Alberta’s future as it racks up a $71-billion debt by 2019-20 that will cost Albertans $2.3 billion in annual interest payments,” the party said in a statement. “Those interest payments are taxpayers’ money that will go straight to the banks and not towards hospitals, schools, teachers or nurses.

“By 2019-20, it will cost $16,049 for every Albertan to pay their share of the debt. Borrowing this year is nearly one quarter of the total budget.”

The Wildrose also said the NDP was exceeding its own “debt-ceiling” legislation of not allowing debt to be more than 15 per cent of GDP and said Alberta’s debt-to-GDP ratio is forecast to go over 20 per cent.

“This is an NDP budget fantasy stuffed with more of the same economic experiments that have failed Alberta for two years straight,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said in a statement. “The NDP remain completely out of touch with life for real Albertans who are suffering today.”

“Let’s be clear, when we look at the projected revenue numbers that this government has brought forward, they simply are not realistic,” he added. “Some of the increases in our commodity prices that they expect to have over the next three to four years are, in my opinion, just hopeful thinking.”

“The NDP government is passing the bill onto our children to pay for a spending-bender that will leave us with $71 billion of debt before the next election,” Wildrose finance critic Derek Fildebrandt said in a statement. “This neglect of even basic fiscal controls and recklessness with borrowed money will take generations to recover from.”

“What we see here is the largest intergenerational transfer of debt in the history of Alberta,” Interim Progressive Conservative leader Ric McIver said. “The children and grandchildren of this province will have to clean up the mess that this government is making.”

“I don’t know what game they’re playing,” Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark said of the NDP’s budget. “I guess they’re just trying to get to 2019, crossing their fingers and hoping oil goes up.”

READ MORE: Alberta budget 2017: Winners and losers

School boards and student advocates

The 2017 budget saw a number of investments in education, including a promise to increase funding to match enrolment, build 10 new schools and upgrade or replace another 16. School fees paid by parents are also being cut by $54 million.

“Edmonton Public Schools is pleased to see a steady commitment to education in this budget,” EPSB Chair Michelle Draper said in a statement. “Our student population continues to increase and today’s announcement acknowledges that, with a commitment to fund enrolment growth.

“We hope the infrastructure spending details next week will help address Edmonton Public Schools’ pressing need for new schools, replacement schools and school modernization.”

The Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) said it “welcomes the Alberta government’s commitment to funding new student enrolment growth” but also voiced concern that per-student funding has not increased in the budget “and, in fact, has continued losing ground.”

“It’s great news that the government is investing in building new schools and renovating others, and providing funding for new students coming into the system,” ASBA President Mary Martin said in a statement. “However, overall instructional funding is being eroded because it has not kept up with inflation, forcing school boards to continue doing more with less. This is a chronic problem and needs to be addressed.”

“Overall, this budget reflects good news for students,” Dexter Bruneau, chair of the Council of Alberta University Students and vice-president external for the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University, said in a statement. “The government is demonstrating its commitment to the post-secondary sector and CAUS is content with the direction the government is taking.”

Business

With a budget that pegs the deficit at $10.33 billion, it’s perhaps no surprise that some fiscally-conservative stakeholders in the business sphere did not react positively.

The Calgary Chamber said it was disappointed to see “fiscal discipline and additional support for innovation and entrepreneurship was not high on the agenda.”

“Hope is not a strategy,” Calgary Chamber CEO Adam Legge said in a statement. “Commitments to jobs and investments can’t be based on an environment of hope, they have to be based on an environment of certainty.”

“What businesses mainly want is for government to not make it any harder to survive in these challenging times and this budget shows us there is clearly no plan to make it easier.”


The Calgary Chamber did, however, say it was “heartening” to see the NDP keep operating expenditure increases to less than population growth plus inflation.

The budget sees operational spending growing by about 2.2 per cent.

-With files from The Canadian Press, Caley Ramsay and Tom Vernon.

http://globalnews.ca/news/3315.....-reaction/
Bugs





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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I have said before, what's the point of paying for our benefits when we can saddle future generations with the bill?

It isn't cheap to buy the voters' goodwill.
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Alberta's debt soars to $45 billion in new budget

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