Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Second Budget, Same as the First

In honour of earth day, it was a very environmentally friendly budget by Ed Stelmach's Conserva...ha ha. No, of course not. Now that the joke is out of the way, here's a serious rundown:

-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.

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  • "Despite all the spending, no new K-12 schools or post-secondary facilities are planned for the fiscal year, although operating budgets will see substantial increases."

    That's from the article you linked to. I'd say increased operating budgets are better news than new facilities, which often just stretch operating funds even further.

    By Anonymous ace, at 10:06 PM  

  • I'm not sure how, but surely Jimtan will eke out a Hitler analogy from all this.

    By Blogger Mike514, at 10:10 PM  

  • Well, we can certainly declare fiscal conservatism to be dead in the Alberta PC Party.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:25 AM  

  • Yeah and somehow if the Liberals were in there;

    health premiums would increase
    teachers would get a big raise

    meanwhile the surplus keeps on rollin in

    what are you expecting them to do?

    By Blogger art, at 10:02 AM  

  • "health premiums would increase
    teachers would get a big raise"

    Why would they raise premiums when "the surplus keeps rolling in"?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:24 PM  

  • Glad to see you back on the Alberta politics beat CalgaryGrit, now if only we could get you to leave Toronto...

    By Anonymous eh, at 3:09 PM  

  • must i spell it out for you jimtan?
    coz they talk about stoking the heritage fund with the surplus(es).
    never saw a tax they didn't like
    just ridin' ya, man

    the alberta voters won't change UNLESS the tories really screw-up, like talking about a prov sales tax.

    even the ndp are against that.

    By Blogger art, at 5:29 PM  

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