The Alberta Party says the province needs to rethink its budget to reduce the dependence on oil revenues.
Leader Greg Clark feels, no matter who is in charge, it has become too common for Alberta governments to pin their hopes on rising oil prices to balance the books. He plans to gather input from Albertans on how things could be done differently. “Now is exactly the right time to start asking questions about different sorts of revenue streams,” Clark said.
“Do we want to look at user pay? Do we want to look at health care premiums? Do we want to look ways to reduce personal and corporate taxes and offset that with other kinds of revenue that may be more economically efficient? But that’s what this is really all about is starting to have that discussion and see what Albertans think.”
He also floated the idea of public sector wage freezes.
The Alberta Party has put together a document called “Pathway to Prosperity” that maps out how the NDP’s budget would play out over a decade. “I can tell you that the revenue line continues to go up slowly, but the expense line goes up exactly in parallel with it. Those two lines never cross,” Clark said.
“The NDP has no plan to ever balance the budget, let alone pay back our debt. I think quite frankly they don’t realize they have to actually pay back the money they’ve borrowed.”
The Alberta Party leader called for forward thought on budgeting in Alberta. Clark said his party is looking for middle ground between NDP spending and Wildrose plan for massive cuts. “The Wildrose plan would slash $8- to $10-billion out of a $50-billion budget,” he said. “It would cause absolute chaos, in health and education. It would lead to bad social outcomes for the province and really hurt our quality of life. So I don’t like that plan either.”
Clark maintains that from a $50-billion dollar budget the government should be able to find one per cent a year in pure efficiencies without having an impact on front-line service.