Monday, August 15, 2011

"Alberta government repeating 1980s missteps with deficits, denial"

The Fraser Institute sent out a release today, coupled with appearing on the Rutherford Show on radio this morning.

Here's an excerpt:

Examples of government statements from both eras:
“Alberta is not in debt”
  • In his 1985 budget speech, then treasurer Lou Hyndman said, “There are few governments in the world that can match the financial strength of the Province of Alberta.”
  • In February 2009, Finance Minister Iris Evans noted that “Alberta has absolutely got more resources available to it than anybody else facing a decline.”
The four-year budget target is missed
  • By June 1989, the Alberta government admitted its earlier forecasts of a balanced budget would be delayed one year. Then treasurer Dick Johnston insisted the deficit would be eliminated by 1991/92, a year later than projected; however, it wasn’t balanced until 1993/94.
  • In a late-2010 interview, Premier Stelmach announced a four-year balanced budget deadline would be pushed off further into the future, until at least 2013/14—one year later than initially forecast.
Fiscal comparisons between both eras:

Overspending leads to deficits
  • Between 1980/81 and 1985/86—before any significant (later) decline in revenues—Alberta’s revenues rose by 49 per cent, but program spending increased by 85 per cent.
  • Between 2003/04 and 2008/09—before any significant (later) decline in revenues—Alberta’s revenues rose by 38 per cent, but program spending increased by 70 per cent.
The ramp-up in real per-capita spending
  • In the 1980s, real per-capita program spending hit a high of $11,496 in 1985/86 and took significant reductions to bring the books into balance. Real per-capita program spending declined to a low of $6,498 in 1996/97.
  • Since then, the trend-line has been mostly upward. Real per-capita program spending hit $10,235 in 2008/09, dipped slightly in the next year, and rose again to $10,204 in 2010/11.
Yeah, wow, that PC Party sure has a real darn good organizational memory.  Must be all that experience and all. 

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