Public Interest Alberta’s Executive Director Joel French attended a Government of Alberta consultation on the 2019 provincial budget hosted by Health Minister Sarah Hoffman. He presented five major points of input on the budget:
- Begin a serious effort to engage Albertans about how our tax system performs compared to other provinces.
- Alberta’s public services are already stretched thin; do not stretch them even thinner.
- Stop the public funding of private schools, and reallocate that funding to strengthening public education.
- Make universal pharmaceutical coverage a top priority.
- Phase out the inefficient funding of private seniors’ care, including both home care and facility-based care.
For the past year, Public Interest Alberta has been running a campaign called Revenue Reno to give Albertans more information about the province’s revenue shortage, how it could be solved, and why it is so important if we value our public services like health care and education.
“When all of the facts are put on the table, most Albertans are willing to have a reasonable conversation about whether they want higher taxes or cuts to public services,” said French. “It is the government’s responsibility to ensure Albertans understand that those are the only two options we can choose from.”
French emphasized that strong public services should be the focus of the government’s deliberations on the budget.
“Many of the ways the government can be more efficient with its spending are also ways public services can be made stronger,” added French. “That includes reallocating public funds from private schools into our public school systems, introducing universal pharmaceutical coverage, and greatly increasing the role of public operators in our seniors’ care system.”