April 16, 2012 (Edmonton, AB): Today, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith called on the Redford PCs to come clean on how they would pay for the $7 billion in unbudgeted promises they have made during the election campaign. “The Redford PCs are desperately trying to buy this election,” said Smith.
“With nearly $7 billion in unbudgeted spending promises, they have to come clean before we go to the polls on April 23rd and tell Albertans what taxes they will raise to pay for it all.” The Redford PCs pre-election budget set a new record for spending, included the fifth consecutive PC budget deficit, drew down another $3.7 billion from the Sustainability Fund, promised billions in new spending for infrastructure and social programs, and vowed a new fiscal and savings strategy next year, after the election. But a week into the election campaign, with PC support in freefall, the Tories launched an avalanche of new, unbudgeted spending promises. At mid-campaign, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation found the Tories had made 22 promises worth $3.4 billion, not including a $3 billion subsidy for the oilsands, compared to nine Wildrose promises valued at $308 million. The PCs then quietly suggested that $2.4 billion in funding for upgrading and building schools would be surplus contingent. If true, the cost is still over $1 billion in the next budget, ensuring a sixth straight deficit. “If revenues only grow at 4 or 5% a year, how will the Redford PCs pay for all these reckless promises?” asked Smith. “Will it be higher income taxes, a provincial sales tax, reinstated healthcare premiums, higher education property taxes, more sin taxes, even higher gasoline taxes, or some combination of all of the above?” In contrast with self-serving PC fiscal recklessness and extravagance, Wildrose has pledged to bring in a Balanced Budget and Savings Act that will put Albertans first by balancing the budget immediately without cutting front line public services. A Wildrose government will then use budget surpluses to rebuild the Heritage Fund, develop public infrastructure, and give all Albertans a direct tax-free share of energy revenues. “Our spending commitments are modest, practical and affordable,” Smith said. “They are fully costed and transparent. And most important, we can deliver them without raising taxes.”