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Wednesday November 4 2015 3 POLITICS BUDGET By CRAIG GILBERT The Alberta way includes billions more for roads schools and hospitals but will not break even before 2019-20. Drinking smoking and driving on the other hand will cost you more immediately. The provinces New Democrat govern- ment tabled its first budget Tuesday laying the groundwork for a stronger diversified economy by spending 4.5 billion more on infrastructure reversing frontline public ser- vice cuts and stimulating job growth accord- ing to Finance Minister Joe Ceci. This government is working towards a vi- sion of a province that is more prosperous - and whose prosperity is much more widely and fairly shared he said. Ceci bucked the tradition of buying a new pair of shoes on budget day choosing instead to put his late fathers work boots on display. He said the 2015-16 budget will repair the public service and do a lot of construction. The4.5billionboostrepresentsa15percent increase in infrastructure spending this year part of a five-year 34 billion capital plan that includes 3.8 billion for schools 4.7 billion for roads and bridges and 4.4 billion for new projects and programs that will be considered basedontransparentandaccountablecriteria. A two-year job creation incentive of 5000 per business per new job is expected to sup- port 54000 new jobs by 2017 and the gov- ernment intends to take new measures to improve access to capital funding for small- and medium-sized businesses SMEs. The budget speech also mentioned the cre- ation of the Ministry of Economic Develop- ment and Trade announced during a cabinet shuffle in late October. Ceci said the budget deficit this year will be about 6 billion and is projected to balance in 2019-20 a year later than the New Democrats promised during the election campaign last spring. He pointed to pressure on government revenuescreatedbylowinternationaloilprices. Stabilizing the patient AccordingtothegovernmentAlbertasBud- get 2015 stabilizes the healthcare system with predictable funding while planning to control annualincreases.Theaimistospend19.7bil- liononhealthcarein2015-1620.4billionnext year and 20.9 billion the year after. The budget earmarks 10 million per year for mental health. Investments of 120 million and 90 million respectively for new long- term care spaces and homecare expansion have been back-loaded to 2016-17. Investmentsineducationareprojectedtobe 7.6 billion 7.9 billion and 8.1 billion in the nextthreeyearsrespectivelyadding380teach- ersand150supportstafftoAlbertaschoolsin- creasingsupportsforstudentswithspecialneeds and creating a new school nutrition program. Nowenjoyingatwo-yeartuitionfreezemore than60000post-secondarystudentswillalso receive228millioninscholarshipsandgrants. Funding for the post-secondary system is ex- pected to increase to 6 billion in 2018-19. TheNewDemocratgovernmentisalsospend- ingonfamilieswithanewAlbertaChildBenefit an enhanced Alberta Family Employment Tax CreditAFETCandmoresupportforpeoplewith disabilities child intervention child care and thoseexperiencinghomelessnessandnewan- nualfundingof15millionforwomensshelters. Paying for virtue with vice Vice taxes will be going up starting this fis- cal year providing an additional 1.5 billion in 2015-16 and approximately 2.3 billion per year for the next two fiscal years. That includes a5increasetoacartonofcigarettesafiveper cent increase to the liquor markup a four cent increasetothelocomotivefueltaxandaoneper cent increase to insurance premium tax rates. The new Alberta way as Ceci phrased it in his budget speech Oct. 27 means keeping spending increases to two per cent per year for the next four years and freezing the salaries of cabinetministersandMLAsandtheirpolitical staffforthetermofthelegislature.Government revenue is projected to grow by six per cent per annum over the same period. It also means growing the economy out- side the oil patch and saving. Alberta needs to reduce our vulnerability to priceshocksoverwhichwehavenocontrolCeci saidashetabledthebudget.Wemustdothisby saving for a rainy day by diversifying our econ- omyandbygettingthemaximumpossiblevalue out of the development of our energy resources resourcesthatbelongtothepeopleofAlberta. Seniors Jobs Skills Training and Labour and the Legislative Assembly of Alberta combined. The long decline of the Alberta Advantage continuesunderthisbudgetWildrosefinance criticDerekFildebrandtsaid.Albertansdonot needideologicalexperimentswithnewcorpo- rate welfare bureaucracies and a debt ceiling that will exceed 47 billion but a common sense plan to get spending under control pro- tect jobs and return to fiscal sanity. Ceci promised hiring restraint across the publicserviceacomprehensivereviewofAl- bertasarms-lengthagenciesboardsandcom- missionsandlegislationthatwouldpreventthe provincefromborrowingmorethan15percent ofGDPathresholdtheDominionBondRating Service warned would put the governments AAA-stablecreditratinginjeopardyifexceeded. Wildrose calls budget risky The budget is plagued with risky economic theories fantasy five year projections and record deficits according to a statement from Wildrose Party. TheOfficialOppositionwarnedtheNDPbud- getcomeswithastunning26.8billiondeficit over the next three years measured as a total drop in net financial assets. This will bring Al- berta to a record 47.4 billion in debt by 2019. The party claims interest on the debt will cost as much as the departments of Aborigi- nal Affairs Status of Women Service Alberta This government is work- ing towards a vision of a province that is more prosperous - and whose prosperity is much more widely and fairly shared. Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci Vice tax hikes pay part of the new Alberta way Alberta Finance Minister and President of the Treasury Board Joe Ceci showed off his late fathers work boots instead of buying a new pair of shoes on budget day Oct. 27. PhotocourtesyofthegovernmentofAlberta