Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann says he is encouraged by early signals from the Minister of Finance that the October 27 budget will contain stimulus measures but adds that such measures must be comprehensive and multi-pronged.
“I am pleased that the Minister seems to be heeding the Alberta Liberals’ calls for infrastructure spending to help stimulate the economy,” says Swann. “Of course, we want to see that infrastructure spending be prioritized based on need – not political considerations – and include repairing existing infrastructure as well as new projects. We also hope to see it spent on variety of needs including public transit and affordable housing.”
Swann added Alberta Liberals support the use of debt to finance infrastructure spending but said Budget 2015 must contain a long term debt repayment plan in order to be responsible.
Swann says that infrastructure spending is one piece of a wider stimulus package that is needed in Alberta and recommended the following measures:
· Eliminating the small business tax by immediately lowering the rate by one percentage point and reduce it by an additional point every year until it is eliminated.
· Shield Innovation and Advanced Education from any cuts in the upcoming provincial budget and ensure that their budget keeps up with inflation and population growth. This will encourage economic diversification and new technology initiatives.
· Scrap plans to give businesses $10,000 for low wage hiring. Alberta Liberals argue this is not a sustainable approach to job creation and will cost the government funds better spent on other prioritize
· Create financial incentives to encourage the creation of new, clean energy technologies in the private sector.
“Albertans are looking for a vision to stimulate and diversify our economy,” says Swann. “They expect all of us as legislators to work towards that goal, regardless of political stripe.”