Some Funding Will Not Equal Population and Inflation IncreaseEDMONTON—“While last year's budget could be characterized as a chicken little 'the sky is falling' because of the bitumen bubble, this year's budget is just a 'little chicken,'” said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “Rather than addressing the priorities expressed by Albertans in the consultations last fall and following through on many of their election promises, the Redford government is taking only a few baby steps.”While there are some positive increases in certain program areas, many parts of the provincial budget do not keep up with population and inflation growth (5.1%, combined):
- Education funding is only increasing 4% next year, while the number of children continues to increase faster than schools are able to hire staff and teachers.
- There is no announcement of the promised full day kindergarten
- There are some positive increases to certain areas within the Ministry of Human Services, but no clear indication how they are going to eliminate child poverty by 2017.
- There is an increase in capital funding under the Affordable Supportive Living Initiative (ASLI) program from 50 million to $100 million. However it remains to be seen if any of this money will go to increase long-term care beds, as the Premier promised during the last election.
- There are other troubling cuts to seniors care including a $126 million cut to seniors drug benefits and a cut to the office for the protection of people in care.
- Funding for post-secondary education may not keep pace with inflation and population growth, nor will it address the fact that Alberta has the lowest post-secondary participation rate in the country.