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Time is now to rebuild Heritage Fund after years of PC neglect

EDMONTON, AB (October 2, 2013): After years of neglect and mismanagement of the Heritage Savings Trust Fund by the PC government, it’s time to take the necessary action to replenish the fund for future generations, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today. 

This evening, the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust fund will be holding a public meeting at 7 p.m. in Edmonton.  Adjusted for inflation and population, the Heritage Fund is worth less today than when it was first created in 1976.   Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said that if the province had simply re-invested the annual interest accumulated by the fund instead of directing it to general revenue, the Heritage Fund would be worth over $150 billion today.  At a rate of return of 7 per cent, that would generate $10 billion dollars per year in investment income.  “Over the years, the PC government has created a shameful legacy of siphoning off savings from future generations to fund their addiction to overspending,” Smith said.  “If we begin to live within our means, the Wildrose believes we can ensure the restoration of a strong Alberta Advantage that can be enjoyed for current and future generations. I will be attending tonight and I urge the government to get the Heritage Fund back on track.”  Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said that with the province going back into debt after years of neglecting the Heritage Fund, the sustainability of core public services is being put at risk.  “Instead of focusing on priorities and saving responsibly for the future in order to end the reliance on energy revenues, the PC government has plunged Alberta back into debt, neglected needs while spending recklessly on pay, perks and corporate welfare and let the Heritage Fund languish so it is worth less now than when it was first created by Premier Lougheed,” Anderson said.  “This government has raided the fund over the past 25 years, transferring billions of dollars into general revenue, instead of allowing the fund to grow as a savings account for future generations. Wildrose would aggressively grow the Heritage Fund by mandating 50% of all surpluses as well as interest earned remain in the fund so its annual income can eventually replace government revenues from oil and gas.”