Grande Prairie Smoky MLA Todd Loewen is reacting to the Alberta budget that was released yesterday. Within the next three years, the NDP government plans to be in the red by $58 billion with this year coming in at 10.4 billion. Loewen says there can’t be expectations to get out of debt with this amount piling up in such a short amount of time.
“That’s $2 billion in annual interest payments which amounts to $2000 to the average household. It is just an incredible amount of debt. Of course, we need to spend on services that we need like the health and education…we need to keep infrastructure going to”
He says that a hiring freeze on non-essential government services and management reduction can be used to cut some of the spending.
“I think we just need to see this government sharpen the pencil and try to find wasted government. There has to be a lot there. We spend about 25% more per person than BC does. There has to be some cuts that we can do.”
Meanwhile, the province plans to reduce the cost of government with the amalgamation or dissolve of agencies, boards, and commissions which will save around $33 million over three years. A two percent cut in supplies and salaries was also set out with $121 million in savings.
There are several Peace Region projects going underfunded including school modernizing in the city as well as some Peace Wapiti School Division’s requests not going through for new buildings. The MLA explains that there is a need for schools and teachers with a growing population but as there is more learned about the budget, they will find out what this means for Grande Prairie.