Alberta Budget Surplus of $12.3 Billion Will Fund Affordability Package: Finance Minister

EDMONTON—Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews announced at a press conference Thursday that Alberta has a projected $12.3 billion surplus in the 2022-23 mid-year budget. That’s up from just $511 million projected the previous February.

Toews said the surplus will allow the province to provide critical help to Albertans and their families so they can “keep more money in their pockets for groceries, gas, utilities, and other rising costs of everyday living.”

Alberta Premier Daniel Smith pledged $2.4 billion in the current and next fiscal years for a range of aid and inflation relief measures aimed primarily at middle- to low-income families, seniors and the at-risk. There will be $600 in benefits sent to some Albertans over the next six months, including children under 18, families earning less than $180,000, seniors, and those receiving income support, fixed income for the severely disabled, and other government benefits. Provincial fuel tax will also be suspended for six months.

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Toews specified the affordability relief measures would be funded by current surpluses, and would not include withdrawals from the Heritage Savings Trust Fund or debt retirement plans. “Our government is the first government which is now repatriating the entire income of the Heritage Savings Fund to the trust fund,” the minister said.

The minister suggested that if investment income had been left in the Heritage Savings Trust Fund since its inception, with no additional contributions and no withdrawals, Alberta would have had more than $270 billion at the end of 2019 and close to $300 billion in the fund. today

‘Energy Powerhouse’

The surplus is attributed to Alberta being called an “energy powerhouse,” Toews said. “Alberta continues economic momentum despite global uncertainty, with a projected surplus of $12.3 billion and debt repayments of $13.4 billion.”

He said that the total revenue of the province in the current financial year is estimated to be 76.9 billion dollars. The same will happen if the system is indexed to inflation, as announced by the austerity package, with less collection in personal income tax. Additional revenue from corporate income tax is expected due to business growth and significant population growth.

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Toews said Alberta is responsible for more than a quarter of the new jobs created in Canada this year, while representing just 12 percent of the country’s population. The province also had the highest population growth among the four largest provinces in the first six months of 2022.

The province continues to see higher revenues from bitumen royalties, corporate income tax and other revenue streams.

“De Havilland announced a new aircraft manufacturing plant near Calgary, and it will eventually employ 1,500 people. In the first half of the year alone, Alberta saw 56 deals worth $481 million in venture capital investment. The province’s agri-food sector attracted nearly $1.5 billion in new investment has done, and has created 3,000 jobs in Alberta since 2019. These successes are strengthening Alberta’s position as Canada’s economic engine,” the minister said.

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And $79.8 billion will remain in taxpayer-backed debt, and the government has indicated an additional $10.8 billion over the next three years will be dedicated to savings, debt reduction and future prosperity for the province.

Toews said, “In the face of a potential global recession, Albertans can be confident that our province is in the best possible position because of our focus on responsible fiscal management over the past three years. By investing in savings and reducing debt for future generations, we can help Alberta live, We continue to make it the best place to work and raise a family.”

Marnie Cathcart

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Marnie Cathcart is a reporter based in Edmonton.

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