COLUMN: Local MLA Nate Horner provides a fiscal update

‘Our approach to that recovery must ensure we are delivering the most efficient government services possible.’

COLUMN: Local MLA Nate Horner provides a fiscal update

On Aug. 27th, Minister Travis Toews delivered Alberta’s economic and fiscal update in the assembly.

The effects felt from the triple whammy of the pandemic, oil price war and economic crisis have challenged our province and leave us with quite a lot to think about.

Minister Toews pointed out in his update that our economy could shrink by nine per cent in 2020. To make matters worse, Alberta now has a historic deficit of $24.2 billion for 2019-2020, $16.8 billion larger than forecasted in Budget 2020.

When we ran in the last election, we campaigned on finding saving of three cents on every dollar of government spending.

With this level of spending restraint, this government was on track to balance the budget in its first term, altering the unsustainable spending trajectory of the previous government.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a very different situation today.

The current deficit can be attributed to the drastic loss of $11.5 billion in revenue and the necessary response Alberta’s government took to combat COVID-19 and protect vulnerable Albertans.

While 85 per cent of businesses representing 96 per cent of our economy remained open, Alberta’s government still experienced an almost $9 billion drop in revenue due to lower income taxes and gaming revenue, as well as a massive drop in oil prices.

That loss represents 80 per cent of the $11.5 billion reduction in revenue.

I know that for many these numbers seem outlandish and frightening, but it is when we understand where we are fiscally as a province that we can begin to plan for our way forward.

The circumstance that we are in is made worse by the fact that regions like ours were experiencing a downturn of economic activity before this crisis.

After treading water over the last five years through economic stagnation and decline, we find ourselves looking at a long road to recovery.

Our approach to that recovery must ensure we are delivering the most efficient government services possible. Alberta’s government has unveiled a bold, ambitious, and extensive long-term strategy to build our province, diversify our economy, and create jobs.

To start, your government accelerated the Job Creation Tax Cut, lowering the business tax rate from 10 per cent to eight per cent, making Alberta the most attractive tax environment for job creators. Alberta’s government has also cut red tape for small business and job creators by making amendments to legislation such as the Alberta Labour Relations Code and to the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act.

Further, Alberta’s government created Investment Alberta, a new provincial agency that will lead an aggressive worldwide campaign to attract job creating investment while promoting the truth about Alberta’s responsible energy sector.

This, coupled with the 7,400 jobs created by the Keystone XL Pipeline, will bring major investment back to our province’s energy sector.

Alberta’s historic investment in Alberta’s energy sector and infrastructure, along with the reduction of over burdening red tape, and lowering taxes for job creators, will result in putting Alberta back on track for a generation of growth.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province still hopes to bring the hospitalization number down before relaxing restrictions. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
14 new deaths, 366 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta

Province nearing 100K COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Art Kempf, originally from the Stettler area but now living in Lacombe, is pictured here with his late wife Lillian. Art’s 100th birthday is coming up on Feb. 22nd.
photo submitted
Former Stettler area resident Art Kempf will be celebrating a very special day next month

Kempf, now a Lacombe resident, marks his 100th birthday on Feb. 22nd

photo courtesy of Lara Angus
Kate Syson, Sharon Fischer and Allan King pose with the Zamboni on Stettler’s newest skating spot.
photo courtesy of Lara Angus
Stettler Elementary leadership take the Zamboni for a spin

Sharon Fischer and Kate Syson lend a hand for Stettler’s new skating spot

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Photo submitted)
Central Alberta researchers recognized for studies in agricultural sciences

Jessica Sperber of Ponoka and David MacTaggart of Lacombe awarded prestigious scholarship

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

A ground worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 unloads lobsters from a WestJet Airlines flight at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Trudeau teases stricter travel measures; Canadians flying to U.S. now need COVID test

Prime minister says measures need to not hurt imports and essential trade

(Photo submitted)
Ponoka RCMP receives new police puppy trainee

Detachment says goodbye to ‘Maja’ and welcomes ‘Neutron’

'The Coronavirus Isn't Scary' by Kristy Walker.
Sylvan Lake author pens first children’s book about COVID-19

“The Coronavirus Isn’t Scary” by Kristy Walker teaches children to take care of themselves

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie are serving sit-down customers in their Mirror diner to protest health restrictions that they say are unfair to restaurants and other small businesses. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
Central Alberta restaurant owner defies health restrictions by serving diners

Whistle Stop Cafe owner says pandemic restrictions unfair to restaurants and small businesses

The Northwest Territories flag flies on a flagpole in Ottawa on July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta man charged with threatening Northwest Territories public health officer

Police did reveal the nature of the threats, but said it was concerning

A healthy volunteer receives an injection in this undated handout image provided by Providence Therapeutics. Human clinical trials have begun in Toronto for a proposed COVID-19 vaccine by a Canadian company. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says 60 subjects will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Providence Therapeutics
*MANDATORY CREDIT*
Calgary company begins human clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate

If successful, the vaccine could be released by the end of the year

Most Read