Provincial Budget 2017: Time to Go Back to the Kitchen Table
March 16, 2017
Today, the Alberta government tabled its 2017 provincial budget, projecting a massive deficit for the third year in a row.
The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce urges government to bring all stakeholders together to the same table—from business, government, and community—to roll up our sleeves, to start to prioritize, and to come up with a realistic plan to get Alberta back to balance.
“The small business person going over her books at the kitchen table doesn’t have the luxury of waiting years to balance her budget,” said Janet Riopel, President & CEO of the Edmonton Chamber. “Her bank will lend to her if she has a plan, but she can’t borrow on her hopes for the future. She’s making tough decisions right now about spending, decisions that will affect families—her own and her employees’.”
It’s understandable given the economy that the government is taking steps to protect spending for the services Albertans rely on, but clear measures are needed to get Alberta back on the path to long-term prosperity. The trend of growing government spending without a clear plan is harming Alberta’s competitive position, leading to continued fiscal pain and leaving an unmanageable legacy for future generations.
The Edmonton Chamber asks that the Province:
- evaluate government programs and services to determine which are priorities and which can be delivered more efficiently, as is being done by the cities of Edmonton and Calgary;
- consult broadly with external stakeholders about the best approach to stabilizing government revenues and expenditures, with an assessment of all available revenue options and tools;
- negotiate government labour agreements due for renewal with a target of no staffing increases and zero percent increases in salaries; and
- report publicly and transparently on results.
“The government needs to rein in its spending habits just as business owners and their families are being forced to do,” said Riopel.