Fiscal update highlights urgent need to solve Alberta’s revenue problem
The following statement is attributable to Murray Sigler, interim CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce
Calgary, August 27, 2020 – “With debt levels expected to reach $24.2 billion and the debt burden to grow to $99.6 billion, the fiscal snapshot tabled by Finance Minister Travis Toews shows the difficult – but not surprising – position Alberta is in due to the COVID-19 pandemic, global collapse in oil prices, and preceding years of low economic performance.
“Immediate action and intergovernmental collaboration were needed to support Albertan households and businesses, and above all protect the health of Albertans through an unprecedented crisis. As we look to future economic recovery, all levels of government must continue to work together, and in partnership with business, towards stability and resiliency.
“Alberta’s deficit is being driven in large part by a severe decline in government revenue. Forecasted at $38.4 billion, today’s update indicated an $11.5 billion drop from the last budget, driven in large part by declining non-renewable resource revenues.
“These numbers call for the reimagining and diversification of our sources of revenue so that Alberta can have stable, predictable, and reliable sources of funding upon which we can build vibrant businesses and vibrant communities. The government’s focus on diversification and the creation of a new Ministry of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation are both important first steps.
“Going forward, we urge the government to take bold, innovative action to ensure Alberta’s economic recovery and future success. This includes a multi-year sustainable plan that addresses revenue and costs, and ensuring government policies empower all Albertans to participate successfully in the economy.
“Finally, we urge the government to provide clarity and certainty for business through consultations and policies that ensure Alberta is an attractive and competitive place to do business. Charting our path forward will require alignment, leadership, and collaboration.
“On behalf of Calgary’s business community, we stand ready to contribute to that work.”