EDMONTON, AB (September 10, 2012): The PC government’s new round of budget consultations must include a commitment to end wasteful spending that puts core social programs at risk and that will rescue Alberta’s Heritage Fund from its current neglected state, Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said today.
The government announced today yet another "public conversation"; this time on government spending and saving priorities. Anderson warned against the possibility that the Redford government might want the Heritage Fund to be divvied up and used as a slush fund for PC pet projects or one off spending. “The point of the Heritage Fund was to save for future generations and to get Alberta off the roller coaster ride of volatile resource revenues. Instead, the PCs have been negligent and let it languish to its current state- worth less now in real dollar terms than when Premier Lougheed set it up in 1976,” Anderson said. “It’s time for the government to prioritize its resources, end wasteful spending on corporate welfare and perks for insiders, and begin an aggressive savings policy that would ensure Alberta’s future prosperity.” The Wildrose Official Opposition ran on a campaign promise to pass the Balanced Budget and Savings Act that would return Alberta to balanced budgets by limiting spending increases to the rate of inflation plus population growth and invest 50% of all surplus dollars into the Heritage Fund. The strategy includes refraining from spending interest earned from the Heritage Fund until the compounded interest earned on the Heritage Fund is larger than resource revenues. Anderson noted that if we begin this saving strategy today, the Heritage Fund could be worth $200 billion in 20 years. Anderson went on to say that he hopes the PCs will change the channel on their usual consultation process that fails to be open and transparent. “We’ve seen this routine before where the government has a pre-determined decision and fans out across the province to have invite only closed door consultations,” Anderson said. “It’s time to have a real open and transparent process that helps Alberta save for the future instead of maintaining the status quo of big of uncontrolled spending and ongoing deficit budgets that the sustainability of core programs at risk.”