Alberta caught the biggest $8.7-billion surplus in history, and what do we have to show for it? Nothing really. Tax breaks? no, one time payouts that really don’t help anything, yes. Lower tuition? Hell no, that goes up and up, 2nd highest in canada is it? Dumping big money in the AHTF ? HELLL NO. Voters and baby boomers don’t give a damn about saving for the future (this sentiment is the fault of the young voters who aren’t even voters). When the majority of the population (demographic wise) Retires taxes will sky rocket to compensate for HUGE HUGE HUGE medical bills. What will we have to pay for these bills? not oil, it’ll be gone by then…..So why not invest in the trust fund and SAVE?
The surplus for Premier Ralph Klein’s government would have been nearly $10 billion had the province not decided to share some of its bounty by mailing $400 rebate cheques to every man, woman and child last winter. Continued soaring oil and natural gas prices — the province’s cash cow — pushed Alberta’s resource revenues to $14.3 billion, nearly $4 billion higher than the previous record five years ago.
Finance Minister Shirley McClellan insisted Monday it’s too early to say whether the Conservative government will hand out another round of rebate cheques for the current fiscal year. People love free money, love spending, and don’t think about tomorrow. McClellan said the pressure to pay more rebates must be weighed against the pressures to build or upgrade schools, roads and health facilities in Canada’s fastest-growing province.
Liberal finance critic Rick Miller said many Albertans would readily concede they don’t need more rebates and the provincial government should be doing something else with the money. Alberta families can pay over $1,000 a year in health-care premiums and some employers foot at least part of the bill. Another look would be to save (wow) WAY MORE than the ‘protection against inflation’ and meager contributions to the fund; we could in fact eliminate provincial taxation! but no, albertan’s only think about their own personal fat wallets of today.
The province’s final fiscal update for the year ended March 31 also showed record spending of more than $27 billion, up almost $3 billion from the previous year. The cost of many public infrastructure projects is ballooning because of higher labour and materials costs.
Finance Department officials said earlier during a technical briefing that the province has likely reached its financial peak after a remarkable year and it’s unlikely such high resource revenues will be repeated. The annual Heritage Savings Trust Fund report was also released and showed an investment return of just over 15 per cent, putting the “fair value” of the fund at $14.8 billion. –> Can you believe this? 14.8 billion, that’s all we have to show for 20 years of saving. Unreal, but hey, people will only find out and say ‘boo hoo’ about it when they’re flat on their face unemplyed.
But part of the increase was the result of the government topping it up with a $1-billion contribution earlier this year. (Congrats, keep doing this x5) What are your thoughts?