MLA Mark Smith

MLA Mark Smith

MLA COLUMN: Budget 2020 and staying on track to balance

Government announced that the yearly deficit will be $1.2 billion less than projected in Budget 2019

Our government’s fiscal plan is working. This week, our government announced that the yearly deficit will be $1.2 billion less than projected in Budget 2019. This will save taxpayers $35 million in debt servicing costs and put this province on track to balance the budget by 2022-23. Balancing the budget means that hard-earned taxpayer dollars will be invested in services for Albertans, instead of going to global banks and investors.

Through Budget 2020, this government is expanding the ambitious Capital Plan. This year’s budget adds an additional $772 million in infrastructure projects over three years. This investment will help create 3,000 new, well-paying jobs by 2022. By expanding the Capital Plan, our government is investing in roads, schools, hospitals, public transportation, and more. These key investments will help create jobs, grow the economy, and support the high-quality services that Albertans deserve. Despite what the opposition claims, Budget 2020 contained no cuts to spending on health or education. In fact, spending in these areas have been maintained at record highs. In order for our core public services to be sustainable, the budget outlines new models to ensure funds directly support Albertans instead of getting caught in red tape.

Budget 2020 outlined A Blueprint for Jobs, our plan for job creation, which employs a variety of strategies to make Alberta an attractive place to do business. By reducing red tape and taxes, investing in key infrastructure, and focusing on skills development for our young workforce, Budget 2020 is helping get Alberta back to work.

With session officially underway this week, we brought our first bill to the floor, Bill 1: Standing Up for the Rule of Law. Premier Kenney introduced Bill 1, the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act, ensuring that no radical group should be able to hold our economy hostage. If passed, this bill would impose fines and potential jail time on any individual or organization who damages or interferes with critical infrastructure. By protecting our railways, highways, bridges, oil and gas production and refinery sites, this government is sending a strong message that lawlessness is not tolerated in Alberta.

Finally, this week marked an important victory for hardworking Albertan taxpayers as Federal courts have officially ruled the Federal Carbon Tax Unconstitutional! On February 24, the Alberta Court of Appeal announced a landmark 4-1 decision declaring the federal carbon tax unconstitutional. In their decision, the Court of Appeal called the effort to impose this punishing tax on families in Alberta a “constitutional Trojan Horse”. I am proud of the hard work this government has put in place since taking office to protect the interests of Albertans. By fighting the federal carbon tax, this government is helping get a better deal for Alberta.

-Submitted by MLA Mark Smith