EDMONTON, AB (December 20, 2012): With no plan to pay back mounting debt, an escalating revenue shortfall of possibly up to $6 billion dollars and a complete detachment from fiscal reality, Premier Alison Redford cannot to be trusted to keep her promises after creating her own fiscal nightmare, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
Before the election, Premier Redford promised Albertans that she would “balance the budget next year”, but is now suggesting that there might not be enough revenue just to cover day-to-day operating expenses with no plan to pay back new debt spending, saying that to pay for infrastructure Alberta is, “going to see some pretty large numbers.” “After promising a balanced budget and billions of dollars in new spending during the election, it is clear that Ms. Redford is a Premier who is willing to say or do anything to get elected and then break her word,” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said. “Now, during a time of economic uncertainty around the world, this government is leaving a legacy of waste and debt asking future Albertans to clean up the mess.” Premier Redford also justified the government’s path of deficits, debt and eroded savings suggesting that quality of life under the previous Premier Ralph Klein government in 2004 “wasn’t the best.” “Albertans are beginning to see what Ms. Redford meant when she stated that she wants to ‘change the character of Alberta’ – more debt and an erosion of the Alberta Advantage,” Smith said. The Wildrose has long criticized "Alison's Wonderland” budget with its unrealistic revenue projections, that would harm the economic health of the province, but yesterday Finance Minister Doug Horner finally admitted the government’s fiscal mess falls on their overly optimistic projection for oil prices, blaming it on the inability to move Alberta’s bitumen product to growing markets. “This Minister seems to have been living under a rock this past year, denying time and time again the impending budget crisis as a result of their bloated revenue projections,”
Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said. “It is completely irresponsible for this government to suggest they had no idea the impact a lack of market access for our oil would have on our bottom line. These guys used phony numbers during the election and now Albertans are paying the price.”
BACKGROUNDER Premier Redford’s balanced budget promise “We’re balancing the budget next year, and that’s in our budget.” – Hansard March 20, 2012 “Our oil price forecast is actually slightly below the average of private forecasts, and based on those forecasts, we are confident we will achieve a surplus of – please listen – $5 billion by 2014.” – Hansard March 22 2012 “Redford praised the federal government's plans to balance the budget in three years without tax increases and noted her government's projection of a balanced budget in 2013” – Calgary Herald March 30 2012 Alison Redford later said she was "absolutely firm" on her promise [to balance the budget],” – Calgary Herald October 12 2012 “We'll secure Alberta's economic future with a balanced budget plan,” – Calgary Herald, November 10 2012 "We have always said we would balance our operating budget," – Edmonton Journal, November 20 2012