After a hiatus of close to one year to write my latest book Conservatives: Dead or Alive? (Amazon.com) I will start blogging again on a regular basis. On every second Sunday of the month I will be blogging about politics and economics. I would like to invite you to follow me and write your comments, and share with your friends. It is the only way to share ideas given the bias that exists in the main stream media today.
It is said that charity begins at home. So for my first comeback contribution I will share with you my views on the 2015 Alberta Budget Disadvantage. Premier Prentice promised change from his predecessor Allison Redford, however his first budget produced the same ‘progressive’ agenda that believes in tax and spend Albertans hard earned money.
It is obvious that Alberta has been affected by the massive drop in oil prices. But in reality the province’s problems are not just revenue based but solidly anchored in a culture of spending and mounting debt due to ill-conceived promises and bad fiscal management.
The 2015 budget should have been an opportunity to make bold decisions and instead the Prentice government cowardly used the pretext of Alberta having the lowest taxes in the country to include 59 new or increase taxes and fees. In light of increasing costs and dwindling service delivery, they offered no cuts to bloated administrations in both education and healthcare. The healthcare premium will go to general revenue – we know where that will end up. The unions got out scot free and will only have their benefits and agreements considered after the next elections. The result is a proposed budget cut of just 0.7 %, resulting in the largest deficit in the province’s history - $5 billion.
Having masterfully got rid of the official opposition through betrayals and capitulation, the government could have done a better job. Knowing that there would be no chance of losing a majority at the next election, the government could have introduced a 5% sales tax, as well as increasing the minimum taxable income to balance the impact of its introduction. Taxes did not have to be increased, but massive cuts, as well as toll roads and other user fees could have been implemented. Restructuring of government departments and introducing managed competition and private/public partnerships could have helped the financial situation today and for future years.
To present a ten year plan is a joke, given that this government and the Premier may not even be there in ten years’ time. This budget was nothing more than a campaign manifesto. The biggest problem is Albertans believed that Prentice would be a change from Redford. This budget proves that nothing has changed, but more importantly that the establishment ‘progressives’ are now in full control of the Party.
Please also find a link to my latest speech. A New Direction for Alberta