MLA Mark Smith

MLA Mark Smith

MLA Mark Smith: Provincial Debt

The economy is struggling.

In the 2019 Provincial Election the United Conservative Party ran on a platform of reducing government spending by trying to find about three cents of savings for every dollar spent by the government. The debt under the previous government had grown to close to $63 billion dollars, the economy was in a recession and who ever was elected was going to have to start to address the debt and government spending. Between finding efficiencies and growing the economy the UCP government believed it could eventually have a balanced budget and then begin looking at how best to reduce the debt that the government had accrued.

Alberta has been hit especially hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the oil price crash and an already weakened economy. On August 27, 2020 the Minister of Finance presented Albertans with a provincial update and the fiscal reality that Albertans must now face is serious indeed. Here are some of the numbers you need to know:

Revenue is down

• Resource revenue has dropped drastically to $1.2 billion a $3.9 billion decrease.

• Bitumen royalties of $686 million are forecast, $2.5 billion lower.

• Personal income tax revenue is forecast at $10.7 billion a $1.9 billion decrease.

• Corporate income tax is forecast at $2.1 billion which is $2.4 billion lower.

• Total Revenue is projected to be $38.4 billion a decline of $11.5 billion or 23% from Budget 2020.

The Deficit and Debt are up

• The yearly deficit now sits at $24.2 billion – $16.8 billion higher than estimated in Budget 2020.

• Alberta now faces a debt burden of $99.6 billion, or $22,400 per Albertan.

• Interest payments on the debt have increased by $21 million and is a net $154 million higher.

The Economy is struggling

• Manufacturing shipments and goods exports are down 20%.

• Non-Energy exports are down more than 10%.

• Drilling rig activity is down nearly 80% on a year to year basis.

• Investment in oil and gas extraction is forecast to fall by over $8 billion or more than 30%.

When the Premier told Albertans that a time of economic reckoning was coming he was not exaggerating. Albertans have not faced these kinds of economic times since the “Great Depression”. But we are not without hope! Albertans are a hard-working, entrepreneurial people who are prepared to pull together, address the problems set before them and work to overcome our challenges. That was the message of the Finance Minister in his update to Albertans. We will face the challenges, we will work towards living within our means and we will work hard to grow the economy and provide a pathway of hope for all Albertans.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Gov’t of Alberta identifies estimated 300 new COVID-19 cases Sunday

Online COVID-19 dashboard unavailable as upgrades being completed

Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Kiara Robillard is seen in an undated handout photo. When the pandemic began, Robillard had to rush back home to Alberta from California, where she had been living for five years, after she was struck by a truck that broke her spine in two places. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Kiara Robillard, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘It kind of clicks:’ Text4Hope program helps with depression, anxiety during pandemic

Participants receive one text message every morning for three months

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

Most Read