Nobody ever said being the official government is going to be easy.
The United Conservative Party’s interim budget of last October has run its course and Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews will introduce the party’s first full-meal deal budget on Feb. 27.
There’s no doubt that the Province will tighten the purse-strings. The UCP and Premier Jason Kenney won on a mandate of getting the coffers in order as Alberta’s debt continues to rise. Hey, it’s something virtually all Albertans have had to do as the economy drops due to slumping oil prices and other factors.
Fortunately, local municipalities and school boards seem to be somewhat prepared for Feb. 27 as they have put in the legwork and public consultation for when Toews’ new shoe drops on Thursday.
Foothills County has already expressed its concerns about the upcoming budget.
The UCP also committed to battle rural crime during the 2019 election – and has taken the steps to do so with open houses and increased enforcement.
However, that increased enforcement may mean an extra $600,000 to the County and its taxpayers. A hard and expensive pill for the County to swallow, especially in the light of the municipality already forking out about $200,000 annually for enhanced policing in the area.
The County is rightfully claiming the Province is passing the buck.
As well, recent concerns about changes to how doctors get paid – especially in rural areas — has caused worries about being able to hire or retain physicians.
There are always some losers at budget times and the UCP did say things would tighten up.
But it also said it will listen to Albertans.
That will be another tough test down the road if Thursday’s budget doesn’t pan out.