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HomeNewsCOVID-19Quarterly report shows provincial revenues to drop by billions

Quarterly report shows provincial revenues to drop by billions

Grande Prairie—Wapiti MLA and Finance Minister Travis Toews says nearly all of the government’s revenue sources have been impacted by the crash caused in the wake of COVID-19, as well as the oil price crash. He says total revenue projections are currently $38.4 billion— a decrease of 23 per cent since the initial release of the 2020 budget.

The 2019-20 Annual Report and 2020-21 First Quarter Fiscal Update and Economic Statement show the province is now sitting on a debt burden of $99.6 billion. This is roughly equivalent to $22,400 per Albertan. Meanwhile, more than 170,000 jobs have been disbanded and the provincial unemployment rate is now 13 per cent.

First-quarter projections also suggest a significant increase to the deficit reaching $24.2 billion to $16.8 billion higher than estimated in Budget 2020. Toews says the new numbers and projections are a sobering reminder for Albertans of the extent of the damage caused during the pandemic.

“If left unchecked, [these numbers] predict a grim reality for Albertans. We are facing the most significant economic challenge of our generation,” he says. “To deal with this challenge, our government is developing a path forward – a path of economic recovery that will see job creation, diversification and stability restored to Alberta’s finances.”

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The province’s total expense forecast is currently at $62.6 billion. Officials say although began the year boasting a strong investment market, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic stalled and sidelined previously projected growth. Alberta’s economy is also expected to experience “the largest decline in modern-day history;” a drop of 8.8 per cent— according to officials.

Toews says the growth of government would cost unnecessary taxpayer dollars, would invade upon and impede private sector expansion.

“A sound and diversified economy cannot be built by increasing the number of jobs that are paid for by taxpayers,” he says.

He adds Alberta’s Recovery Plan will build on the initial actions introduced to rebuild the provincial economy prior to the pandemic. This included establishing the Job Creation Tax Cut, abolishing the provincial carbon tax, and cutting red tape.

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