News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wildrose Alliance publish alternative budget

Danielle Smith and the Wildrose Alliance have published their alternative budget proposals, designed to eliminate Alberta's deficit within two years and reduce this year's funding shortfall by two thirds. A key theme is reducing the cost of government bureacracy, by shrinking Alberta's bloated cabinet by almost two thirds and shrinking the Civil Service management through natural wastage. Beyond that, a lot of the savings come from proposals to delay capital projects until the economy recovers and keeping a tighter reign on health budgets. Alberta already spends more per capita on health than any other province, and this year's budget allocates an astonishing 13.7% increase.

It's about time that this "Conservative" province had a fiscally conservative agenda. Ed Stelmach has fallen for the old Socialist dream - see a problem and throw money at it. Reality check Alberta PCs; all you're doing is making the problem more expensive.

The Wildrose proposals in full:



Although Albertans expect their elected representatives to protect frontline social programs (health, education, PDD) while providing critical public infrastructure, they also expect their government to responsibly protect the Alberta Advantage, live within their means and prioritize needs before wants.

Erasing the $7.55 billion cash deficit in one year is not practically possible without heavy cuts, however, the Wildrose Alliance Caucus believes the PC government can cut this cash deficit by approximately $4.668 billion to roughly $2.882 billion by implementing the following spending adjustments:

  • Spread the $20.1 billion capital budget over 4.5 years rather than three years. This yields a budgetary savings of nearly $2.79 billion in 2010 alone.
  • Increase Health and Education operational spending in line with inflation plus population growth (3.5%) rather than the astounding Budget 2010 increases of 13.7% (Health) and 4.6% (Education). This would yield $1.33 billion in savings for 2010 and still provide significant investments in these two areas.
  • Delay the Green TRIP mass transit initiative until economic conditions improve for savings totalling $70 million.
  • Cancel the wasteful and unproven $2 billion Carbon Capture and Storage experiment saving Albertans $100 million this year.
  • Eliminate Alberta's Venture Capital Fund. Government should not be allocating funds to private business ventures. This would return $100 million to the balance sheet in 2010.
  • Cut corporate subsidies for product commercialization. The government has no business being in business. This would save Albertans an additional $110 million in Budget 2010.
  • Terminate the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency. Marketing beef is a role for private farmers, agricultural marketing organizations and private business, not the Government of Alberta. This correction will save roughly $50 million in 2010.
  • Reduce the size of cabinet from 23 to 16 by combining, among others, Infrastructure with Transportation, Treasury Board with Finance and Enterprise, and Municipal Affairs with Housing and Urban Affairs. This will save Albertans approximately $44 million.
  • End the direct subsidization of horse racing, saving $25 million per year.
  • Through retirement and natural attrition, increase the Government's worker to manager ratio from 4:1 to 12:1 (the ratio in the private sector is about 25:1). This will save Albertans approximately $35 million this year alone.
  • Cut the Government's communications (public affairs) budget in half saving $7 million.
  • Significantly reduce spending in the Premier's Office and end Alberta's wasteful 'rebranding initiative' and save $7 million this year alone.

PC Government's Real Cash Deficit........$7.550 billion
Total Wildrose Alliance deficit savings.....$4.668 billion
Revised Cash Deficit.............................$2.882 billion

These proposed adjustments would not cut the government services Albertans deem most important, such as health care, education, PDD, seniors or public security. They would simply limit their departmental increases to the rate of inflation plus population growth. More importantly, they would reduce our province's real cash deficit from a staggering $7.55 billion to a much more manageable $2.882 billion (a roughly 62% decrease in the real cash deficit) making it possible to eliminate this deficit by next year.

The PC Government, even if all their rose-colored projections pan out, will keep Alberta in a cash deficit position well past 2012 (contrary to their claims of being back in the black by that time).

1 comment:

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