By Lethbridge Herald on April 17, 2015.
Analysis of the “fully costed” Wildrose fiscal plan reveals a funding gap of $29 billion before it even went to the printers, a number of Progressive Conservative candidates said today.
Wildrose has proposed some $10 billion in operational spending cuts over five years, with no detailed explanation in documents they have shared with the public. Even if achieved, the savings would barely replace the revenue increases they seek to reverse.
In addition, the Wildrose platform contains nearly $9 billion in promises the party has not costed in their plans. They include commitments for single unified electronic health records, a wait time guarantee, and an underestimation of the cost of cancelling fees as a revenue source for schools.
On top of these unfunded pledges, the Wildrose platform contains a hole of $20 billion, as a result of making $25 billion in capital infrastructure pledges over five years, with a commitment to borrow only $5 billion to pay for it. Combined with their $9 billion in unfunded promises, this $20 billion infrastructure shortfall creates a gap of $29 billion that Wildrose has not explained.
“The Wildrose plan isn’t credible. The numbers don’t add up. And putting it in place would be disastrous for the province of Alberta,” said Edmonton-Whitemud PC candidate Stephen Mandel. “They won’t give Albertans the details of what they say they’ll cut, and they’ve also made huge new spending promises with no money to pay for them.”
“Wildrose are telling Albertans their $10 billion in additional cuts – over and above the significant restraint the PC government has already proposed – will do the job on its own,” said Diana McQueen, PC candidate for Drayton Valley-Devon. “But their plan gives no detailed explanation of what these cuts will be, or about the massive impact they will have on frontline services.”
“There’s no way to make their figures work that wouldn’t result in either enormous further cuts they’re not telling us about, a mountain of new debt, an unprecedented tax burden, or hope and prayer that oil prices skyrocket. Albertans deserve to know what is on the real Wildrose agenda, because without one of these, their agenda doesn’t include balancing the budget,” said Robin Campbell, PC candidate for West Yellowhead.
“If Wildrose wants to fill this massive gap, they could borrow $29 billion, and saddle future generations with the consequences of their decisions,” said Ric McIver, PC candidate for Calgary-Hays. “Or they could fill it with $29 billion in tax increases – three times the revenue increase outlined in the budget. But if that’s in their plans they should tell Albertans now.”
“Another option would be to slash this additional $29 billion out of spending, beyond the pain they’re already planning to inflict,” said Manmeet Bhullar, PC candidate for Calgary-Greenway. “It would mean a devastating cut to front line services. The equivalent of a quarter of the provincial work force would be fired over five years.”
“Wildrose’s last option to fill this massive gap is to pray for an oil rebound that starts tomorrow, sees the price jump to $80 to $100 per barrel overnight, and stays at that price every day for five years,” said Frank Oberle, PC candidate for Peace River. “Their plan doesn’t make sense, isn’t credible, and deserves to be questioned by every single Albertan.”
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