CALGARY, AB (February 25, 2014): Today, the Wildrose Official Opposition released 16 recommendations for the 2014 provincial budget that would put Alberta on a path towards balancing the budget, paying down debt, saving for the future and protecting core front-line services. The recommendations contained in this report represent $1.91 billion in savings in the 2014 budget year without any reductions to front-line services or priority infrastructure projects. The recommendations were sent to Finance Minister Doug Horner this morning.
“These recommendations are responsible, reasonable and most importantly, they are achievable,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. “If implemented, they will put us back on track to rescue our finances without a single cut to core services or important infrastructure.” The recommendations are [2014 savings in bold]: 1) Eliminate Associate Ministers and their staff positions and reduce the number of ministers to 16. [$ 6 million] 2) Roll back the pay raise the Redford PCs gave MLAs following the 2012 election. [$885,312] 3) Roll back the massive pay raise provided to cabinet in 2008 and adjust it only for inflation. [$516,439] 4) Cut the size of the Public Affairs Bureau in half. [$10 million] 5) Limit Bonuses for Senior Public Sector Executives and managers. [ $35 million] 6) Limit all future Severance Packages for Government executives and politically appointed staff and executives. [ $5 million] 7) Cut frills and add-ons to the new MLA offices in the Federal Building. [$4 million] 8) Cap annual government travel budget for the Premier, ministers, MLAs and staff to $500,000 per year. [$500,000] 9) Eliminate corporate subsidies. [$450 million] 10) Reduce expenditures on government bureaucracy by 20% within four years and protect current funding for front line workers and services. [$250 million] 11) Implement the Wildrose 10-Year Debt Free Capital Plan which will sustainably and predictably invest $48 billion over 10 years. [$972 million] 12) Implement a rolling 3-year zero-based budgeting program to review all programs and services. [ $100 million] 13) Increase resources to the Auditor General’s Office and focus on value for money audits. [$50 million] 14) Establish a wastebuster program. [$25 million] 15) Use savings to pay down debt. 16) Implement the Wildrose Balanced Budget and Savings Plan Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said the Wildrose 2014 budget recommendations are 100% focused on waste and largesse and would have no effect on the services Albertans rely on every day. “It’s amazing how much money we could save if the PCs only got serious about eliminating waste,” Anderson said. “By cutting perks to politicians and executives, scrapping corporate welfare, eliminating ineffective bureaucracy and putting real cost-control measures in place, we can start digging out of the hole the PCs have put us in without painful cuts to the front lines.” Anderson also said if corrective measures aren’t taken immediately, Alberta’s debt – which will stand at $8.7 billion on March 31 of this year – will reach $12 billion by the end of the budget year and $17 billion by 2016. “The PCs will try every accounting trick in the book to hide their debt from Albertans,” Anderson said. “The fact is by 2016, taxpayers will be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments alone. We have to correct course and we believe these recommendations, if implemented, would be a good start.”