JUST THE FACTS: Edmonton Journal on the Alberta Energy
DividendToday Graham Thomson’s column offered a description of the Wildrose Pledge that might have been misleading to some readers. Here are the facts, which can be found at www.wildrose.ca/pledge Claim: Thomson says: “Smith announced that if elected, she would give every Albertan a cheque for $300 through what she called "the Alberta Energy Dividend." Fact: This is not the Wildrose pledge. The pledge is to give 20% of all surpluses back to Albertans. We have estimated that this will equal $300 in 2015. The Dividend involves no “cost” that must be budgeted for in annual spending. Claim: “What Smith's promise does, though, is focus attention on the growing list of Wildrose fiscal promises.” FACT: “Ron Kneebone, an economist at the U of C's School of Public Policy, said the Wildrose plan is feasible and welcomed the party's decision to spell out its strategy now.” Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Political+parties+promise+billions+perks+Alberta+voters/6401438/story.html#ixzz1qzVWujG8 Claim: “A Wildrose government would…scrap mandatory school fees and deliver a $200-per year child tax credit while also offering a $500 culture, arts and sports tax credit.” FACT: These elements of the Wildrose Family Pack, once fully implemented, have been costed at between $200-240 million. More than half that cost is the per child tax credit (which is actually a $2,000 credit, but worth $200) that will be brought in only after a cash surplus. Claim: The column quotes Ms. Redford’s response to the Alberta Energy Dividend Redford where she said: “If there are these daily announcements without understanding or being prepared to explain the overall framework, where do we end up losing?” FACT: The "overall framework" is clearly laid out at: www.wildrose.ca/pledge. FACT: As surpluses grow due to spending restraint, 50% of surplus will go to restoring our Heritage Fund, 20% to Albertans through the Alberta Energy Dividend, and 10% to municipalities. Claim: One of the big differences between "Ralphbucks" and "Smithbucks" is that Klein made the promise, and fulfilled it, in the same fiscal year when he knew he had the money. FACT: The biggest difference with the Energy Dividend is that it is part of a legislated formula for handling future surpluses. In effect, it takes this unbudgeted money from boom years and keeps it out of the hands of politicians. Claim: Smith is making a promise for 2015 based on rosy forecasts for the price of oil and gas. FACT: Wildrose revenue projections are lower than the Government’s from Budget 2012. In fact, by 2014-15, our projections are $2.5 billion lower than the “rosy forecasts” that the PCs are basing their fiscal claims on. Claim: If they can do all that, perhaps they deserve to be elected. FACT: Wildrose can do all this, and do deserve to be elected. Wildrose stands for free enterprise, less government, increased personal freedom, and democracy.