Two days after our neighbours to the west tabled their fifth straight balanced budget, Alberta’s finance minister had the unenviable task of informing us just how bleak our budgetary picture is.
Joe Ceci attempted to put his best possible spin on the third-quarter update, with all kinds of talk about signs of recovery and Alberta turning a corner. And while total revenues are indeed about $1.5 billion higher than budgeted, the deficit remains about $800 million more than forecasted – still stuck at a whopping $10.8 billion.
That’s due, in part, to an additional $774 million being spent on higher operating costs.
This is a government, though, that frequently warns about the alleged horrors of cutting spending (“slashing and burning,” as they like to call it), while simultaneously boasting about how the tax burden in Alberta is still the lowest in the country.
It’s no surprise that such an approach would mean a ballooning and seemingly perpetual deficit. So what, exactly, are they doing differently next door in B.C.? Well, that depends who y