Alberta’s finance minister says the government is going to use this year’s projected windfall budget surplus to pay down debt and put some cash in its piggy bank.
Jason Nixon says the plan is to make a $13.4-billion repayment on the provincial debt and add almost $3 billion to the Heritage Savings Trust Fund.
Nixon says that in the past Alberta governments often failed to sock money away in boom times and it now has to make decisions to benefit future generations.
His comments come a day after Premier Jason Kenney announced the forecast for this year’s budget is no longer expected to be $511 million but $13.2 billion.
Alberta is riding another wave of financial prosperity due to high global oil and gas prices along with higher royalty payments from maturing oilsands projects.
Kenney says the extra cash also allows the province to end a policy decision made in 2019 to de-index non-refundable income tax brackets and tax bracket thresholds.
A recent study by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy says the move effectively forced Albertans to pay almost $647 million more in taxes from 2020 to 2022.