The 2018 Alberta Budget includes a lower deficit from last year, more spending and a plan to balance the budget.
The budget increases funding for education, health and community services.
The deficit is expected to be $8.8 billion dollars this year with the overall debt climbing to 54 billion.
They will concentrate on diversifying the energy sector and the economy while protecting vital public services and focus on balancing the budget.
They still plan to spend 26.6 billion in infrastructure over the next five years.
The budget also has $393 million for 20 new schools.
They are also spending 4.6 billion dollars over five years on capital health projects with the Calgary Cancer Centre getting $295 million in 2018.
The budget includes an increase in school funding to 8.4 billion dollars from 7.8 billion, with some of that money being used to reduce school fees.
They also plan on spending 22 million dollars on affordable child care and six million more on school lunch programs.
The government says the budget will be balanced in the next five years.
Highlights of Budget 2018
Diversifying the energy sector
- Investing $1 billion for partial upgrading over eight years beginning in 2019-20, through tools such as loan guarantees and grants, to attract up to $5 billion in private investment, improve pipeline capacity and add value to Alberta energy products while creating thousands of new jobs.
- Generating up to $6 billion in private investment for natural gas processing through $500 million in royalty credits beginning in 2020-21 for a second phase of the extremely successful Petrochemicals Diversification Program.
Encouraging construction of new extraction facilities with $500 million in loan guarantees and grants for a Petrochemical Feedstock Infrastructure Program.
Diversification across our economy
- Extending the Capital Investment Tax Credit, which already supports more than $1 billion in private-sector capital projects, and the Alberta Investor Tax Credit.
- Launching a $20-million new Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit to attract and retain more tech entrepreneurs.
- Funding 3,000 new post-secondary technology spaces over the next five years and new scholarships to support technology and other emerging sectors like life sciences, clean technology and health innovation.
Protecting vital public services
- Continuing capital investment in health facilities, including the Calgary Cancer Centre and the new Edmonton hospital.
- Supporting the shift to better community-based care by funding hundreds of new continuing care beds.
- Fully funding enrolment growth in the K-12 education system and reducing school fees.
- Extending the post-secondary tuition freeze for the fourth year.
- Creating 4,500 additional affordable child-care spaces through the Early Learning and Child Care Centre Program.
- Reviewing the Persons with Developmental Disabilities Program to ensure it provides the right supports.
Returning to balance
- Reaching practical agreements with labour unions to control costs.
- Continuing the salary freeze on non-union public-sector employees.
- Cutting salaries and eliminating bonuses for some of the highest paid executives of Alberta’s agencies, boards and commissions.
- Keeping the size of the Alberta Public Service flat.
- Keeping health spending growth below population growth plus inflation.
- Dissolving and amalgamating government agencies, boards and commissions.
- Tightly managing discretionary spending across government in areas such as travel, conferences and hospitality.
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