Joe This, the Alberta Minister of Finance, predicts the province’s deficit will be $ 7.8 billion at the end of the fiscal year, a $1 billion decrease from last year’s budget .
The Department of Finance posted a $1.2 billion increase in revenue in its first quarter economic update. Joe This attributed the improvement to rising North American crude oil prices and higher personal taxes.
“There are more jobs. The economy is growing. And the deficit goes down, “said Joe Ceci, announcing revenues of just over $49 billion.
The province has revised up its forecast of the price per barrel to $ 61, against $ 59 at the presentation of the budget in March.
Joe said that oil drilling activity had also increased by 7% compared to 2017.
Slight increase in expenses
Figures remain constant in spending, which is estimated at $ 56.3 billion. The government still allows to unlock an additional $ 146 million. They will be awarded to, among others, the Victims Fund, Calgary’s bid for the 2026 Olympics and the promotion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Growth will remain stable, according to government forecasts, at 2.7% in 2019.
The province’s projected debt is expected to be close to $ 53 billion at the end of the current fiscal year.
The government also recalled that the cancellation of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Order by the Federal Court of Appeal had no effect on its forecast for 2018-19.
It is still on course from 2023-2024 to find a balanced budget.
“We have two other pipelines that can help us achieve that balance,” said the finance minister, referring to Enbridge’s Line 3 and the Keystone XL Pipeline .
Reactions of the opposition
The opposition condemned the government’s financial management reminding that the payment of interest on the debt would go into the pockets of the bankers rather than that of Albertans. For opposition leader Jason Kenny, the government must act to restore a balanced budget. He believes the government must freeze its spending right now.
“It’s not difficult to do without affecting social services because the Alberta government is the least efficient in Canada,” he told a news conference. Our per capita expenditures are the highest of any province.”
Jocelyne Bennett is a general assignment reporter at Spruce Tribune. She has covered sports, entertainment and many other beats in her journalism career, and has lived in Hamilton for more than 6 years. Jocelyne has appeared periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) The National Post, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Wired.com, Vice and Salon.com.