Alberta economist provides perspective on misleading info in government budget consultation materials
EDMONTON - The Alberta government has begun consultations for the next provincial budget, set to be released in February 2021. A key part of the consultation is a survey which asks Albertans to respond to several questions about budget priorities. However, the background information given for the survey and the consultations as a whole contains information that is either given without context or out of context in order to direct the thinking of respondents to the answers the government wants to receive.Read more
With much fanfare, Alberta’s UCP government has appointed the Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta’s finances to recommend a path to balance its budget. Unfortunately, the entire project is compromised from the outset because the panel’s mandate ties one of its hands behind its back.
Budgets have two components: revenue and expenses. However, the panel’s mandate specifically excludes any consideration of changes necessary to the way our government generates revenue — which means that its job is restricted to recommending cuts to Alberta’s public services.
The revenue shortage is a problem that will continue until our provincial government takes significant steps to solve it. There are really only two ways it can be fixed: either raise substantially more revenue, or make massive cuts to public services. Ralph Klein’s government took the latter approach to the extreme by cutting $3 billion from public services. In many ways, the province has still not recovered.Read more