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Commentary: Thursday's Alberta budget announcement will impact many

Local Government Fiscal Framework funding is already "wholly inadequate"

With the Smith UCP provincial government set to table the budget Thursday, residents here and across the province will be watching closely to see the details of the government’s fiscal plans for the coming months.

While the exact numbers will not be known until the legislation is introduced, there can be no doubt that municipalities, businesses and the public sector will be markedly impacted.

And individual residents and families may end up being impacted most of all.

In her recent televised address, the premier did not reveal details of her budget plans. However, she did indicate in broad terms that her government plans to make saving a higher priority.

“Instead of spending all that non-renewable surplus cash on the wants of today, we will be fiscally disciplined, invest in the Heritage Fund annually, strategically pay down maturing debt,” said Smith.

Christina Gray, deputy leader of the official Opposition, says the premier is failing to keep promises made in the 2023 election. 

“Danielle Smith had the opportunity to fix the chaos her government has created for health care, but she didn’t. She had the opportunity to make life more affordable for you and your loved ones, but she didn’t,” said Grey.

While no one can argue that Alberta’s long-term financial success is in everyone’s best interest, whether the province should be banking more of its income instead of spending it on current needs remains the big question.

For example, Rural Municipalities of Alberta says the $722 million being allocated to municipalities under the new Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF) is wholly inadequate to meet current infrastructure needs.

“We are concerned that the starting point for the LGFF of $722 million is not reflective of the investments required by municipalities to support our residents and businesses, especially when considering the downloading from the province on municipalities, like bridge infrastructure which is now a part of municipal infrastructure,” says Mountain View County reeve Angela Aalbers. 

This week’s budget is much anticipated – and for good reason.

Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.







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