Spend now, save later.
And by later, Alberta Minister of Finance and Enterprise Iris Evans meant next year, she told a packed Calgary Chamber of Commerce luncheon yesterday.
At the moment, Evans said, there’s more pressure on the province to “catch up than to control our spending.”
“It’s not sustainable over the long term, we understand that,” she said, the day after tabling her first budget as finance minister, which announced a $4 billion increase in spending.
After a lengthy meeting with Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier, Premier Ed Stelmach said, “it’s important to invest in Alberta today to make sure we reap the benefits tomorrow.”
Stelmach said he understands the city is under pressure with a potential 14 per cent property tax hike, but added this year’s budget is a done deal and they’ll look into it further next year.
Bronconnier repeated his assertion yesterday that the province is addicted to Calgary property taxes, focusing on a 10 per cent decrease in education property taxes that won’t come into play here.
“There is no tax decrease in this budget, if you’re a commercial business, you’ll pay 7.4 per cent more than you did last year for the provincial requisition, as a homeowner, you’ll pay 6.5 per cent more because the province has requisitioned more money than they need,” Bronconnier said, pointing to a projected $1.6 billion surplus.
Evans pointed out yesterday that Calgary will still get more from the province than it puts in.