Taxpayers Federation critical of growing Alberta debt

“The Debt Clock really puts in front of people what this government is doing with this budget.” Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Rod Fox

Derek Fildebrandt

Derek Fildebrandt

A protest against the billions of dollars of debt that Albertans are facing found its way to the front door of Ponoka Town Hall July 16 with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) Debt Clock.

Alberta’s debt has already passed $10 billion and the CTF wants taxpayers to know the reason why debt is increasing. A press release by the organization states it has taken 10 years to go from no debt to billions owing.

“Making our great province debt-free once again is the number one priority for the CTF in Alberta right now,” said CTF Alberta director, Derek Fildebrandt in the release. “We are going to take the fight to as many towns and cities as we can to rally support and put the heat on politicians to take a stance.”

The organization projects Alberta’s debt to reach $21 billion by 2016-17 with $1.4 billion interest payments every year.

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Rod Fox says the current government saw $45 billion in revenue last year, yet spending is already $2 billion over that revenue this year.

“The Debt Clock really puts in front of people what this government is doing with this budget,” Fox stated.

He suggests the Wildrose Party’s 2014-15 alternate budget would take away corporate subsidies and $100 million in Alberta Health Services expenses over a 17- month period.

On government subsidies, Fox said the process is such that it is “picking winners and losers in the economy.”

He recommends a new framework would be better for equal business opportunities. The current debt is such that the province is going to face big payments of interest on its debt.

“That’s going to leave Albertans on the hook for more than $820 million a year in interest payments,” said Fox.

The CTF says Alberta’s debt will increase by $4.7 billion in fiscal year 2014-15 and the sacrifices made to make the province debt free has been fettered away much of the Sustainability Fund.