Monday, March 11, 2013

Alberta Budget 2013. A few thoughts.

  1. Render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.
  2. Bewilder (someone).
It has been 3 days since the Alberta Budget was handed down and I still can't figure out what the actual numbers are. But that wasn't a mistake, that was the intention of the Redford budget 2013-14 and I am clearly not alone in that belief.

Graham Thompson called it "arguably the most opaque, obscure and cynical budget yet delivered in Alberta."

Don Braid wrote: "translating this one (budget) is like trying to decipher the Inca alphabet (clue: they didn’t have one.)"

and Derek Fildebrandt from the Canadian Tax Payer Federation tweeted: "I have never seen an attempt to obscure facts and numbers from the public as blatant and serious as this."  (perhaps this is why they tried to keep him out of the lockup)

It is a mess. Nobody can peg an actual deficit and having Doug Horner unsure about the meaning of the word deficit and a Premier who is actually claiming that we don't have a deficit is clouding the matter even more for the average Albertan trying to get a handle on what the hell happened.

The bottom line is as Horner says “we’re in a deficit.”  including an almost $500 million dollar operating debt of which Redford promised just 4 months ago "We will continue to ensure that our operating budget is balanced." and we will be $17 billion in debt by the year 2016. That is if you assume their numbers are correct and the PC track record has not been good in that regard and now Redford has had to break almost every election promise that she made not even 1 year ago.

Oh and fair warning to those that are not happy with Premier Redford about this because apparently if you were one of those who believed Redford's promises of a balanced budget and no debt, that she used to win the election, prepare to be called names and mocked if you believed her or if you believe in such extreme ideologies as honesty or fiscal responsibility for now and the future.

With a fiscal record so bad and now with a trail of broken promises it is easy to see why Redford and the PCs have attempted to obfuscate with their budget to throw the public off the reality of the situation but unlike other years they really had no choice this time; their hand was forced as there is no longer an easy way to hide their incompetence . No longer can the PCs rely on the Sustainability Fund to cover for their fiscal incompetence as they did 5 previous times running deficit budgets; the PCs drained the once near $18 billion dollar fund to almost zero and the jig is up.  Oddly enough that Sustainability Fund which has covered the PCs for the last 7 years was started by Ralph Klein, that same Ralph Klein that progressive conservatives including Redford herself have been slamming lately for being fiscally irresponsible by balancing our books and getting us out of debt and of course giving us that PC butt saving Sustainability Fund.

While I am on Ralph here is one of the laws his gov't wrote and was law in Alberta until the PCs rescinded it in 2008:  "actual expense for a fiscal year shall not exceed actual revenue for that year." 

A far cry from what is in Redford's 2013-14 budget, or at least I think so. It is so hard to tell.

So as we await the start of week 1 of the budget showdown in the legislature, I look forward to not only the great debate but also finding out what heck that thing actually said and what it means to Alberta.

BTW the often politicized Provincial Affairs Bureau, the ones that spin for the government and now on a regular basis flat out attack other political parties for partisan purposes, got an increase in funding.  They may claim otherwise because of the creative bookkeeping trick of rolling 2 budget 2012-13 line items together, killing one of them but using that inflated total to claim that there was actually a cut this year, but the truth is the PCs taxpayer funded propaganda arm is this year getting nearly 17 million dollars to spin you when last year they were given a budget of 15 million

So if your local hospital or school has been delayed or if you have already been told that there is no money to give you a wage increase this year, take heart that the PCs consider you so important that they are spending even more money this year to tell you just how good that they and their policies are.


enkidu said...

Horner claimed his budget was done 'the way average Albertans do their household budgets'. Well, I'm an Albertan, and while I have never considered myself all that average, at least my household income is almost exactly the Alberta average. And if, in my household budget, I planned to borrow 4 billion (or even 4) dollars, for any reason whatsoever, it would definitely go into the debt column.

This entire budget is a crock of (expletive deleted), and it is abundantly clear how stupid Ali the Red thinks Albertans are. (She has good reason to think that way, after all, she got elected.)

Anonymous said...

Alberta is Hooped! No one cares about this budget. I sat through lunch today and had a professional Accountant tell me that Governments create jobs, that Government borrowing was like household borrowing and we need a sales tax because we have a lot of tax room.

He hails from Redmonton and told me I was from the Far Right because I thought the government should balance it's budget.