Saturday, July 1, 2017

-looting of the public purse---------------Julie Ali · University of Alberta I wonder how the GOA expects to pay for the major liability that is the provincial debt? Is the GOA expecting our kids and grandkids to be taxed more to pay for the excesses of today? We understand that there needed to be some infrastructure investment because of the dumb PC decisions to defer maintenance and construction of infrastructure but this debt is not due solely due to infrastructure investments. We've an ongoing liability with each year's budget in the form of the costs of ABCs (agencies, boards and commissions). The salaries, pension plans, expense accounts and benefits cost us big time. These ABCs seem to be (in my opinion) the place where the GOA needs to cut. We also need to assess the public employees and determine who is giving us value. It appears to me that the health authorities have major numbers of managerial and executive staff who do not (based on my experience) provide us with value for the dollars spent. It's time to assess the need for managerial staff and cut where it is feasible. In addition executive salaries need to be downsized. We're not able to fund a decent mental health service in Alberta and yet we give money to Covenant Health for executive staff that cost millions every year? How does this make sense? Why not instead cut out Covenant Health and have just one health authority with one executive team? Why do we have a faith based health authority when there is no requirement for this expense? The presence of Covenant Health appears to be the invention of the PCs and needs to be reconsidered as a viable entity for health services delivery in Alberta.


At the end of the NDP error we will have major debt, bigger government, ABCs (agencies, boards and commissions) that aren't pruned, broken promises in the continuing care / child welfare system and I betcha we'll have them looking at the Heritage Trust Fund to balance the books.
When can we vote them out folks? Not soon enough. Such poor governance that is equal to the arrogance and incompetence of the PCs we just evicted.
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We have the escalating provincial debt as our liability due to the failures of the political hires who cannot prune where it is required.
Nope. Instead of pruning we have them increase the debt as well as give money to big oil that it jolly well could rustle up without our corporate welfare program.
It's revolting to see the subversion of the public bank and the increase in our public liability due to lack of fiscal planning and an absence of courage.

The Alberta government is on track to balance the provincial budget — in six years … maybe. That’s as definitive as Finance Minister Joe Ceci would get during a news…
EDMONTONJOURNAL.COM

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http://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/graham-thomson-alberta-33-billion-in-debt-with-no-clear-plan-to-balance-the-books

Graham Thomson: Alberta $33 billion in debt with no clear plan to balance the books

Published on: June 29, 2017 | Last Updated: June 29, 2017 5:58 PM MDT
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The Alberta government is on track to balance the provincial budget — in six years … maybe.
That’s as definitive as Finance Minister Joe Ceci would get during a news conference Thursday when he released the government’s “annual report” containing the final audited figures for last year’s provincial budget.
Among those figures: a record $10.8-billion deficit; and the provincial government now $33 billion in debt.
(We’re also on track to run up a $10.3-billion deficit this year, $9.7 billion next year and $7.2 billion the year after. When you add up the string of yearly deficits, the government will have a total debt well over $60 billion in two years, just in time for the 2019 provincial election.)
But there is some good news. The recession seems to be over and Alberta will lead the country in economic growth this year.
There’s even some good news regarding those pesky deficits, according to Ceci.
“The deficit elimination plan remains on track,” he told reporters.
Excellent.
But … wait a minute.
Just what deficit elimination plan would that be?
“The plan is to have smaller and smaller deficits year on year on year going out, and balance in 2023,” said Ceci.
Uh-oh. That’s not much of a plan.
Ceci presented no charts or graphs or projections showing how exactly he will achieve a balanced budget in six years.
Budget documents show only three-year increments. So, according to Ceci, we’ll have to wait three years to see the government’s plans for a balanced budget in 2023.
The next provincial election is just two years away, so Ceci might want to get a bit more detailed.
He needs a specific plan to balance the books. This is crucial for the NDP if it hopes to survive the next election.
Albertans are allergic to politicians who run deficits, as the fates of premiers past will attest.
That’s why the NDP government cannot simply rely on repeating the mantra that it is going deeply into debt to “make life better for everyday Albertans.”
And boy is that debt piling up. The government is borrowing $6 billion this year to build capital projects such as roads, schools and hospitals, and another $6.4 billion just to pay for the day-to-day costs of operating the government.
Ceci is hoping Albertans will understand he’s trying to support the economy during a slump in energy prices that has devastated Alberta and dried up a major source of revenue for the provincial treasury.
A recent history lesson: revenues from oil and gas were $9 billion in 2014, the last year of PC rule, but dropped to $2.8 billion in 2015, the first year of NDP rule.
Revenues rebounded a little to $3 billion last year and are forecast to bring in $3.7 billion to the provincial treasury this year. But it’s not enough.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean likes to channel the spirit of former premier Ralph Klein by saying the government doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.
(It has both.)
Jean said under a Wildrose government, last year’s deficit would have been between $3 billion and $5 billion, not the $10.8 billion posted by the NDP government.
The NDP caucus demanded Jean explain how he’d trim billions from the deficit without closing schools or cutting back government services.
Jean didn’t provide details Thursday, just as he refuses to provide a shadow budget.
“The shadow budget is a moving target, especially under this government and would be impossible to nail down, and frankly because of that we didn’t see the long-term benefit in doing a shadow budget,” Jean told reporters.
The political reality is the Wildrose doesn’t have to provide a budget; it’s not the government.
The NDP does because it is.
If it wants to help itself stay in government and convince Albertans it is fiscally responsible, it should provide a real plan for balancing the books.
gthomson@postmedia.com



Julie Ali · 

I wonder how the GOA expects to pay for the major liability that is the provincial debt? Is the GOA expecting our kids and grandkids to be taxed more to pay for the excesses of today?

We understand that there needed to be some infrastructure investment because of the dumb PC decisions to defer maintenance and construction of infrastructure but this debt is not due solely due to infrastructure investments.

We've an ongoing liability with each year's budget in the form of the costs of ABCs (agencies, boards and commissions). The salaries, pension plans, expense accounts and benefits cost us big time. These ABCs seem to be (in my opinion) the place where the GOA needs to cut.

We also need to assess the public employees and determine who is giving us value. It appears to me that the health authorities have major numbers of managerial and executive staff who do not (based on my experience) provide us with value for the dollars spent. It's time to assess the need for managerial staff and cut where it is feasible.

In addition executive salaries need to be downsized. We're not able to fund a decent mental health service in Alberta and yet we give money to Covenant Health for executive staff that cost millions every year? How does this make sense? Why not instead cut out Covenant Health and have just one health authority with one executive team? Why do we have a faith based health authority when there is no requirement for this expense? The presence of Covenant Health appears to be the invention of the PCs and needs to be reconsidered as a viable entity for health services delivery in Alberta.

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