The Calgary Chamber of Commerce says the Notley government needs a new approach to spending before the province’s debt levels become too dire.
Yesterday’s first quarter fiscal update shows Alberta’s deficit this year will rise to almost $11-billion while provincial debt is expected to reach $58-billion before the end of the decade.
Chamber President and CEO Adam Legge the government and Albertans need to have a grown-up conversation on the budget.
“We can’t cut ourselves $10-billion in savings and we can’t increase revenues $10-billion,” Legge said in an interview with News Talk 770’s Danielle Smith on Wednesday. “We have to find somewhere in the middle that demonstrates the government has done its absolute best to find spending restraints and efficiency. Then you can have a conversation with Albertans about saying given that resource revenues are have declined and are likely to stay low, how are we going to plug that gap.”
Legge says current public service funding is rooted in a fallacy.
“The notion that a dollar cut in education or health care is an erosion to the frontline service to Albertans is the way the government is operating,” Legge continued. “I do not believe that for a moment.”
Legge says other jurisdictions are finding efficiencies by implementing performance-based funding. He questions why Albertans are paying for Mercedes performance and getting Buick service.