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Anderson statement on final budget 2013-15 figures

AIRDRIE, AB (June 30. 2014): Today, Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson released the following statement on the final Budget 2013-14 numbers posted in the Government of Alberta annual report:

“It’s disappointing and an insult to Albertans that at a time of amazing prosperity and revenues, the government continues to borrow billions and play a financial shell game with taxpayers’ dollars.  Once again, the PCs are claiming a surplus when in reality they spent $2 billion more than they received in revenue. That’s just basic math, but not surprising given their track record of fiscal mismanagement and incompetency. This method of budget reporting has been strongly criticized recently by six former Alberta finance ministers who called for a return to consolidated budgets. It has been thoroughly discredited and should not be relied on for accurate information.

“It’s also unacceptable that the government refuses to include billions of dollars in capital spending as an expense on the books. According to the government’s own budget documents, the 2013-14 capital budget calls for $5 billion in spending, but in the year-end financial report the PCs only include $2.4 billion in ‘capital grants.’ That’s a staggering difference of more than $2.5 billion. This lack of transparency around capital feeds the PCs addiction to debt. Their capital debt level actually rose higher than expected and sits at $8.7 billion, on its way to over $20 billion by 2016. By then, we will be wasting $820 million on interest payments alone.

“Under a Wildrose government, this kind of political gamesmanship with taxpayers’ dollars would come to an end. Our Budget 2014 recommendations not only laid out a plan to balance the budget, but also contained a commitment to pass legislation that makes balanced consolidated budgets mandatory, restores transparency in the calculation of annual deficits or surpluses, prohibits debt-financing and caps year-over-year increases in overall government spending to the rate of inflation plus population growth.”