As we slowly turn the corner from one of the most severe economic downturns our province has seen, many people are wondering what the future holds for our province. Will the government ever balance the budget, let alone start to pay back our debts? Will a new government slash public spending, lay off hundreds of public servants and decimate front-line public services? Or is there another path?
The provincial budget should be released in mid-March and will lay out the government’s plans for the coming year. I will be paying close attention to see how they plan to tackle the challenges facing our province, while maintaining the services Albertans rely on.
For my part, I believe that Alberta can again become a vibrant province that attracts people from all over the country and the world. We can have a robust economy, efficient government, clean environment, innovative education and healthcare systems, a great quality of life, and a community that values diversity. We can continue to have a world-leading energy industry while also taking a step into the next economy.
To get there, we need to consider all options and ask Albertans what they think. The solution includes finding savings in government spending without hurting front-line services. It means ending our reliance on unpredictable resource revenues, while ensuring our energy industry remains strong. It means making our tax system efficient and creating an attractive investment climate. Albertans should keep more of their hard-earned money and we should examine new, stable sources of revenue to provide sustainable funding for core public services.
All of this is possible if we’re willing to think differently. It’s time for Albertans to do what we’ve always done; ask difficult questions and not be afraid of the answers.
BUDGET OPEN HOUSE
I need to hear from you! Come share at my Budget Open House on Saturday, April 7th from 10:00 to 12:00 noon at the Glamorgan Community Hall (4207 41st Avenue SW). For more information on the open house visit www.calgaryelbow.ca.