Here is all you need to know about the provincial government’s 2017 budget, released Thursday by Finance Minister Joe Ceci: It is a fiscal disaster.
Even if the NDP are able to hold steady to their spending projections for the coming year, their expenditures in 2017-18 will be $1.1 billion higher than in the 2016-17 budget year that ends on March 31.
But there is almost no chance of the NDP holding fast to the spending estimates in Ceci’s Thursday budget.
In Ceci’s 2016 budget, released last April, he forecast a spending increase of 3.6 per cent. In the middle of the last year, he adjusted that to 4.4 per cent. Now he admits that in the 2016 budget year, spending increased by closer to 9.9 per cent.
During the past 12 months, the NDP have increased spending by nearly three times the amount Ceci promised in his last budget. What credibility, then, do his Thursday budget forecasts have?
Ceci insists in the coming year that the NDP government will manage to keep the growth in provincial government spending to just 2.1 per cent. But if he is as far off this year as he was last year, when we look back this time next year, spending will likely have increased but closer to six per cent than two per cent.
Want more proof that your tax dollars are constantly burning a hole in the New Democrats’ pockets? Since coming to power a little less than two years ago, the Notley government has increased government spending from just over $48 billion to nearly $54 billion. That’s a rise of 10.2 per cent – or just about five per cent a year.