Given the deficit in expenditure upon infrastructure this might not be the best time to salt away savings. Expenditure on infrastructure has not kept pace with
development. Stelmach's plans seem to address this gap to some extent.
Alberta budget comes down Tuesday
Last Updated: Monday, April 21, 2008 4:47 PM MT
Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach will unveil his government's second budget in the legislature Tuesday amid speculation that spending is likely to increase above last year's record $33 billion.
During the campaign for the March 3 election, Stelmach promised billions for new schools, health-care facilities and roads.
"Its a big job actually, but I'm looking forward to it," said Finance Minister Iris Evans, as she prepared to present the province's spending plans. It will be her first budget since being appointed to the finance position in March.
Many observers will be watching to see whether the government has a plan for saving more of its energy wealth for the future, when non-renewable resources could run out.
The Alberta Chambers of Commerce has called on the province to salt away between 30 and 40 per cent of those revenues, about $3 billion to $4 billion a year.
The Alberta Heritage Trust Fund, started in 1976 by former Premier Peter Lougheed, has not grown substantially in the past 20 years. Its value stands at about $16 billion dollars.
Government commissioned report on savings plan
The government recently commissioned a study on a possible new saving plan, headed by Jack Mintz, the chair of the School of Policy Studies at the University of Calgary.
The government is not ready to release that report yet, said Evans.
"I expect to release it in the future, but I'm not saying just quite when. I've met with Mr. Mintz and it's going to be forthcoming but not for a while."
Mintz said he hopes to see some sign of a new government savings plan in the budget.
"They said that they wanted to have a new approach to savings which is really what this report is all about. So I would hope that the budget also reminds Albertans that the government is committed to looking at a new approach," Mitz said.
The provincial budget will be released at 3 p.m. in the legislature.