The Alberta government has announced a balanced budget for the first time in 14 years.
“Due to spending restraint + dynamic growth in every sector, Alberta projects first surplus in 14 years,” said Alberta premier Jason Kenney in a tweet on Thursday. “Alberta leads (Canada) in growth.”
Kenney announced that Alberta’s economy was diversifying and that the latest budget was moving the province forward into a better future.
Alberta finance minister Travis Toews said that the province was seeing increased revenue across the entire budget because of “this government’s relentless pursuit of pro-growth, open-for-business policies.”
“Balancing the budget requires more than good fortune,” said Toews in a speech in the Alberta legislature. “It takes discipline and leadership.”
Toews said that the previous NDP government under Rachel Notley had increased spending by 4% every year. Even considering the increased energy price projections in the latest budget, he said, Alberta would have had a $6 billion deficit this year if it had continued with Notley’s rate of spending.
“This government has made the difficult decisions,” he said. “Decisions that weren’t always popular, but decisions Albertans sent us to this house to make and decisions that have put us on a much stronger fiscal path for future generations.”
Toews said the balanced budget would include “expanding health-care capacity and helping Albertans develop their skills and find jobs.”
“The government’s focused, responsible fiscal management and relentless pursuit of economic growth has put the province on a more sustainable fiscal trajectory,” he said in a press release. “Budget 2022 will help Alberta move forward into a very hopeful and prosperous future.”
The Kenney government has said it expects to see a surplus of $500 million for 2022-2023, compared with the forecast deficit of $3.2 billion for 2021-2022.
Surpluses of $900 million and $700 million have been forecast for 2023-2024 and 2024-2025.