Not that deficits are the problem Jason Kenney says they are. But deficits are why we are seeing all these cuts and tax increases, right?
No. Last year, Jason Kenney blew up Alberta finances with a $4.7 billion tax cut to corporations. That tax cut failed to create a single job. In fact, Alberta has lost 50,000 jobs under the Kenney plan.
And we are paying a steep price. Here are some of the features of today’s budget:
We all pay more
- Albertans will pay $436 million more in taxes, premiums, licenses and fees. This is over and above the increases from the October budget. And because of Jason Kenney, electricity bills, car insurance, tuition and school fees have gone up.
- The Kenney government increased personal income taxes by $600 million over three years.
- The UCP has eliminated the freeze on education property taxes, so expect to pay more if you own a home.
- The so-called, ‘blueprint for jobs’ is a re-stating of the idea that a $4.7 billion corporate tax cut will create employment. Kenney promised 55,000 new jobs, but Alberta has already lost 50,000. Companies like Husky have taken the tax cut and invested it in other provinces and the USA.
- The budget cuts 1,436 jobs in the public sector.
- The UCP will cut 1,400 jobs from the public sector, in addition to job losses stemming from the October budget.
- They are cutting $72 million from seniors drug coverage, including measures to make it harder for seniors to qualify.
- There is an effective cut to Alberta Health services of $500 million.
- The Kenney government is cutting $135 million in real dollars from hospitals.
- There is $120 million cut from schools, in addition to the fact the UCP is not funding enrollment.
- Five-year-old kids with special needs will no longer get PUF funding, meaning problems in classrooms, and higher costs in the future.
- $53 million cut to maintenance and renewal of senior facilities and housing.
- $105 million cut to maintenance and renewal of health facilities.
- Supports for seniors under the Special Needs Assistance program will be reduced in 2020-21 by $8.2 million.
Education minister lies, again.
Last week, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said all school boards would receive additional in the budget. What actually happened is that districts are now “allowed” to spend an “additional” $100 million from their own fundraising and reserves.
- Public sector pension plans will pay $167 million more in management fees to AIMCO (the organization Kenney is forcing the plans to accept as the fund manager).
Even though the deficit is getting larger, the UCP says they can balance the budget by 2023. That’s because they are relying on unrealistic economic projections. The budget projects a 2.5% growth in the Alberta economy in 2020, while five major banks are projecting an average of 1.7%. The UCP project an average oil price of $58/barrel, when the price has been hovering in the $45 range for some time. And Jason Kenney predicts 7.5% increases in revenue in 2021-22 and 2022-23, when private sector forecasts are much lower.
- Jason Kenney promised lower taxes, and we are getting higher taxes.
- Jason Kenney promised more jobs, and we have fewer jobs.
- Jason Kenney promised a lower debt and deficit, they are higher.
- Jason Kenney promised no cuts to front line services, we are seeing deep cuts to front line services.
- The only promise Jason Kenney has kept is his $4.7 billion tax cut to big corporations that are already earning a profit. Everyone else in Alberta will suffer to pay for that gift to Kenney’s pals.