October 25, 2019
Alberta Tables Cost-Cutting Budget for 2019-2020
The Alberta government under Premier Jason Kenney tabled its first budget yesterday, announcing a number of cost-cutting measures aimed at growing jobs and boosting the province’s economic fortunes.
The budget noted the province’s debt is projected to hit $93.3 billion by 2022-23. Total revenue is forecast to remain relatively flat at $50 billion in 2019-20 and $50.1 billion in 2020-21, before increasing to $57.5 billion by 2022-23.
Among the initiatives announced, the province will cut the size of the public service by 7.7 per cent, eliminate the carbon tax, reduce corporate income tax rates from 12 per cent to eight per cent over four years, as well as increase taxes on cigarettes. It is also ending the Crude-by-Rail program.
The budget closely follows the advice of the blue-ribbon MacKinnon Panel, formed by the premier shortly after winning the election last spring. The panel urged the government to reign in its per capita spending to more closely match other provinces, noting that the province’s infrastructure is generally newer than others and that municipal infrastructure grants are high.
Alberta’s 2019 capital plan makes a commitment of $24.2 billion over four years. While maintaining many prior commitments, provincial spending on capital will decrease by more than $2.9 billion by 2023, or roughly 12 per cent compared to the 2018 Capital Plan.
Municipal support accounts for the largest portion of the plan at 32 per cent, followed by capital maintenance and renewal at 17 per cent, and health care and roads and bridges both at 13 per cent.
The government also noted it will explore “alternative financing options, including public-private partnerships, for priority infrastructure projects when there is a solid business case and value-for-money can be achieved for taxpayers.”
The budget infrastructure highlights include:
- $2.9 billion for roads and bridges
- Maintaining $3 billion for the Edmonton and Calgary LRT projects but adjusting the cash flows so most of the provincial funding is provided after 2022-23
- $2.9 billion for health facilities
- The Calgary Cancer Centre, a new Edmonton hospital and the Grande Prairie Hospital projects will continue.
Maintenance and Renewal
- $3.6 billion for capital maintenance and renewal of public infrastructure
- $1.8 billion for schools
- $463 million for post-secondary infrastructure
- $476 million for family and housing to support youth and homeless
- $6.9 billion for direct municipal support
- Reducing the Municipal Sustainability Initiative Funding by $94 million in 2020-21 and $142 million in 2021-22
View the full 2019 Alberta Budget