MLA Mark Smith

MLA Mark Smith

MLA Mark Smith: Budget 2022

After a few difficult years, Albertans have a reason to celebrate. Your United Conservative team has presented a balanced budget for the first time since 2014.

Our budget is keeping taxes low while increasing spending on health, education, postsecondary education, children’s services, and social services. While the turnaround in the price of oil has helped our bottom line, we have gotten to this enviable position mainly due to careful fiscal restraint and responsibility. Our province is seeing dynamic revenue growth across the entire economy as a direct result of our government’s relentless pursuit of pro-growth, open-for-business policies, and economic diversification.

Healthcare capacity and funding is a major focus of Budget 2022, following the challenges presented by the pandemic. Budget 2022 commits a total of $3.5 billion for health facilities, equipment, and IT systems to expand health-care capacity for Albertans no matter where they live and create thousands of good-paying jobs. This includes $133 million over three years to upgrade and expand hospital operating rooms and departments as part of the government’s commitment to provide every Albertan the surgeries they need within clinically recommended wait times.

As we focus on moving forward, our government will continue getting more Albertans back to work by providing $600 million for Alberta At Work. The new initiative will build skills for the future though skills training and education for K-12 and post-secondary students, address barriers to employment for women, Indigenous peoples, and other under-represented groups, and make Alberta an internationally recognized technology and innovation hub. We will also continue creating jobs now by funding major upgrades to road infrastructure.

Over the past three years, our government has doubled down on investment attraction, economic growth, and job creation. We relentlessly pursued red tape reduction and regulatory modernization, and we significantly reduced our business tax rate. We increased health spending to ensure our healthcare system had the capacity to battle the pandemic, and we increased capital spending to create jobs and improve our roads and bridges for the future. That said, we have also continued to be disciplined in our spending, unlike the previous NDP government, whose out-of-control spending and disastrous fiscal plan would have seen them run a $6 billion deficit this year, even with vastly improved oil prices.

As we move forward, our government remains committed to Alberta’s Recovery Plan. Because of this, we are seeing investment pour in across all regions and economic sectors. This economic growth means Alberta will collect roughly $400 million more in annual corporate tax revenue at an 8 per cent rate than the NDP did at 12 per cent, which speaks to the incredible investment climate our United Conservative team has restored over the past three years.

Budget 2022 is a blueprint for strength, for prosperity, and for hope in Alberta for years to come. I’m proud to report that Alberta is back!

— Mark Smith, MLA for Drayton Valley – Devon