Second Budget, Same as the First
-Would someone care to remind me again how the Alberta Liberals got portrayed as "tax and spend Liberals" during the last campaign? Stelmach followed up one of the largest spending increases in Canadian history last year with a budget that increased spending by another 12%.
-Once again, there was no real focus or forward planning...this was mostly about playing catch up on infrastructure after years of neglect from Klein.
-I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the increased subsidies for horse racing and bingo weren't in Lyle Oberg's pre-election budget.
-Cutting health premiums completely by January 1st is a pleasant surprise given Stelmach's pre-election announcement planned to phase them out over three years.
-At first glance, there does not appear to be much for post-secondary education in this budget, which is disappointing given the massive spending everywhere else.
-Stelmach and Iris Evans will be criticized by the Alberta Liberals for, once again, ignoring the Heritage Fund and long term savings. However, with a low balled estimate of $78 a barrel oil, I'd expect a multi-billion dollar "unexpected" surplus, a third of which will be injected into the Heritage Fund.
I'll update this once other bloggers closer to the scene have a chance to weigh in. I'd also be curious to see some analysis about which election promises were included or ignored in this budget.
UPDATE: Daveberta has a good run-down, including this great synopsis:
Overall, the 2008 Alberta PC budget looked and sounded like a confused 37-year old: still paying for the mistakes of its youth, not quite ready to settle down, almost ready to hit that mid-life crisis point (hello, Ferrari!), and not quite ready to save for the future. It felt like it could have been something out of the 10th season of Friends.
Also, check out ES and get rich.