On the eve of the NDP government’s first budget, Premier Rachel Notley must put forward a plan to keep Alberta’s strong credit rating and resist the temptation to scrap legislation to encourage deeper borrowing, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
A recent story in the Globe and Mail cited the DBRS, a globally recognized rating agency, warning Alberta’s AAA-stable credit rating is being threatened by the promise of increasing debt within the province.
“Albertans deserve to know the full implications of this government’s risky economic agenda. No government has ever spent and borrowed its way to prosperity,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “Any downgrade to Alberta’s credit rating would have a significant impact on the borrowing rates afforded to both the province and municipalities, and put the long-term sustainability of core government services at risk.”
The DBRS has stated that any provincial debt surpassing 15 per cent of the province’s GDP could trigger a downgrade. Alberta is inching closer to that ratio.
In a media availability earlier this week, Finance Minister Joe Ceci made no indication the NDP would make an effort to reduce spending within government departments, while indicating new tax increases remain on the table.
Wildrose Shadow Finance Minister Derek Fildebrandt said scrapping legislation to put some boundaries on borrowing and spending will only make Alberta’s current financial situation worse.
“Alberta has lost its way when it comes to fiscal responsibility and sustainability,” Fildebrandt said. “When tens-of-thousands of Albertans are losing their jobs and seeing their pay cut, they expect their government to show the same kind of discipline they have to show around their kitchen tables. Instead the government is putting forward a plan that will only put the long-term prosperity of future generations at risk.”
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