EDMONTON, AB (November 26, 2013): Despite projected record revenues for 2013-14 and false optimism from Finance Minister Doug Horner, the PC government continues to blow through savings and rack up debt and deficits, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
After releasing the second quarter fiscal update today, Horner said Alberta’s finances have “turned a corner.” However, as Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson points out, the 2013-14 cash deficit remains in the $3-4 billion range and the total debt load is still on track to be $17 billion by 2016 despite revenues projected to top $40 billion for the first time in Alberta’s history. “How anybody, let alone the Finance Minister, can say this means Alberta’s finances have turned a corner is well beyond me,” Anderson said. “Alberta has literally never had as much revenue as it does today and this PC government still can’t stay out of debt or balance the books. This fiscal update is very much the same old, same old: Record revenues, more deficits, more debt and questionable accounting.” Anderson said there are no indications the government is ever going to plan for a dip in energy prices, as Alberta Investment Management Corporation CEO Leo De Bever recently predicted could happen over the next five years due to emerging technologies and spikes in supply. “This government is still mired in short-term budget planning, crossing their fingers every quarter and hoping oil prices stay high so the bottom doesn’t fall out of the budget,” Anderson said. “The fact is this government needs to start planning now for the day oil prices aren’t what they are today. To continue down the road they’re on is reckless and irresponsible and is risking our ability to deliver core services like health care and education.”