March 26, 2012
Wildrose Pledge No 1: Balance the Books and Save for the Future
Eliminating the deficit, restoring Heritage Fund highlight first Wildrose Pledge Careful spending, saving for the future, and living within our means – it’s the Alberta way. OKOTOKS, AB (March 27, 2012): Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith released the first item in the Wildrose Pledge today in Okotoks, the Balanced Budget and Savings Act, a plan to keep taxes low, balance the budget next year, and make a renewed commitment to the Heritage Savings Trust Fund through the proposed legislation. This is the first Wildrose Pledge because it is the first step to getting Alberta back on track.
“Every day, Alberta families make responsible decisions with their money in order to make ends meet and save for the future. Our government should be no different,” Smith said. “A Wildrose government will respect taxpayers by restoring common sense and fiscal responsibility to Alberta’s finances, committing to a long-term savings plan, and focusing spending on what Alberta needs.” The Alison Redford PCs could learn a lot from Alberta families. PC government spending has exploded in Alberta, doubling over the last decade. This massive spending growth has little to show by way of results – health care waiting times have increased dramatically, class sizes have remained high, and support for persons with developmental disabilities is often inadequate. It is time that government got serious about controlling spending growth and saving for the future. The Wildrose Pledge to introduce the Balanced Budget and Savings Act, if elected, contains clear steps that will fix the budget mess the PCs have created. They are as follows:
- Capping increases in annual government spending to the rate of inflation plus population growth.
- Reinstating mandatory balanced budget legislation that the PCs repealed in 2009.
- Mandating that 50% of all cash surpluses be invested in the Heritage Fund, with the goal of growing the Fund to $200 billion in 20 years.
- Prohibiting government from transferring interest earned in the Heritage Fund into general revenues until annual earnings from the Fund are more than the amount of government revenues from oil and gas.
“For years, Alison Redford’s PCs have made reckless decisions with taxpayer dollars. They have put their interests ahead of Albertans, giving themselves huge pay increases and spending billions on things like unproven carbon capture and storage and new MLA offices,” Smith said. “Despite record revenues, Redford’s PCs have racked up successive deficits, gone back into debt and raided our savings in order to pay for their out-of-control spending.” Smith added that a Wildrose government will restore the Heritage Fund to its intended purpose – to ensure a future with low taxes and no dependence on oil and gas revenues. “After years of neglect by the current government, the Heritage Fund is worth less today than when it was first implemented 30 years ago. If we can make careful spending choices now and save for our future, we can build a better and more prosperous province for all Albertans.”