Change that will see Alberta’s government work for its people, not for itself. Change that will see us balance our budget by 2017. Change that will roll back the largest tax hike in Alberta’s history, to get wasteful and excessive spending under control, to become debt-free once again, and to rebuild the Heritage Fund.
Alberta’s government finances are in a mess. That isn’t the fault of everyday Albertans; it’s the fault of Alberta’s government. The PCs have run 7 consecutive deficits in a row now during a period with all-time record high oil prices and revenues. It has also been spending at record high levels, and all too often wastefully.
The PC answer to their own mismanagement has been to blame Albertans, and to raise our taxes to pay for it. In total, the PC budget raises or increases 59 taxes and will cost the average household $2,500 a year. This was done in a budget that actually increases annual spending by $3.5 billion a year and takes on over $8,000 in debt for every man woman and child in Alberta.
The Wildrose’s detailed balanced budget plan would roll back these tax hikes on Albertans and get spending under control. We will roll back cabinet and MLA pay and perks. We will reduce the numbers of managers in the bureaucracy by 33% and freeze management salaries for three years. This, along with other money-saving measures will save taxpayers $308 million a year.
The Wildrose will carefully review every dollar of spending in the government to find savings while protecting front-line services. We will end all sole-source contracts within the government, which all too often create a windfall for PC insiders and cronies. We will eliminate all corporate welfare subsidies. These measures will save taxpayers $1.5 billion a year.
Right now, Alberta Health Services (AHS) has some of the very best healthcare professionals in the world. However, its management has become hugely bloated to the point where it is wasting tax dollars, and is taking the focus off of patient-focused healthcare. We will eliminate half of the managers and consultants at AHS and focus resources on the front line.
We will cut the government’s advertising budget and travel expenses by 50%. While we’re at it, we’ll reduce the number of communications staff and consultants by 50%. These measures will save taxpayers $297 million a year.
The Wildrose fiscal plan will also stop taking on debt, which will save us an extra $564 million a year in otherwise wasted interest payments.
The PCs squandered the last oil boom by spending every single dollar of oil revenue and more, wasting the $17 billion Sustainability Fund, and driving the province back into debt again.
The Wildrose’s fiscal plan will see Alberta become debt-free once the budget is balanced, as we put 25% of all surpluses towards a debt-repayment program.
Just as important, we will see Alberta start saving again. Our plan will see 50% of all non-renewable natural resource revenues (mostly oil and gas) deposited directly into the Heritage Fund. We will also leave all of the interest from the Heritage Fund, in the fund, allowing it to compound. This plan would see the Heritage Fund reach $200 billion within 20 years.
The alternative is more of the same. More waste. More entitlement. More taxes. More deficits. More big PC majority governments that govern for the sole purpose of keeping their hold on power.
There is a better way forward. We can get the budget’s spending under control. We can keep more of our hard earned money in the hands of families, and not in the hands of government. We can balance our budget, eliminate the debt and start saving for the future.
I’m proud to support a plan that will put Albertans first.