As you should know, the Finance Minister Joe Ceci informed the province's budget report last Thursday, March 16th.
It should be noted that this report was eagerly anticipated, as Alberta currently faces a projected deficit of $ 10.8 billion, as this fiscal year comes to an end on March 31, this year.
This figure did not change in the province's third fiscal update released two weeks ago, although Ceci said: "Fortunately the Alberta economy is improving, after a more deep-than-expected contraction, at 2.8 percent in 2016 ".
He also added that: "Alberta GDP is expected to increase by 2.4 percent this year."
The Minister of Finance, for his part, reiterated that there are hopeful signs, which are emerging, these include increased activity of drilling rigs, exports and employment in the province.
It can not be denied then that the picture looks much more hopeful compared to previous statements, thus giving a little optimism to a province that has seen two consecutive years of recessions due to the low price of oil.
One important point mentioned is the tax on the carbon of the province. Tax that went into effect on January 1, 2017, adding costs to transportation and heating fuels.
The fundraising is expected to increase around $ 1.2 billion this year alone. Most of that money will go to "green investments" in renewable energy - sustainable, transit and green infrastructure.
A portion of the same mentioned money - $ 138 million this fiscal year - will be redistributed to low- and middle-income households through discount programs.
The provincial budget will also receive revenue from another "green" regulation - the fees charged to emitters that produce more than 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year.
As is generally knowledge, the province relies heavily on oil resource revenues. Fortunately, and thanks to the stabilizing price of this same one, its revenues are increasing.
In the most recent fiscal update, Ceci said the province probably will earn $ 1.5 billion more than previously projected.
Even with increasing resource revenues being poured into the provincial coffers, profits have been offset by higher spending.
About the Capital Plan.
In fiscal year 2016-2017, the capital plan was reduced by $ 1.2 billion from the initial budget to $ 7.3 billion. The decrease was due to project delays for the coming years, mainly due to the progress of the projects, as well as the impacts of Fort McMurray wildfires and adverse weather conditions.
However, independent of the natural disasters mentioned above, I would like to invite you to review the most important strengths of the recent budget announcement.
A-The 2017 budget includes $ 500 million in funding for 24 new and modernized schools throughout the province, five in Calgary and four in Edmonton. There are also funds for design work at a fifth school in Edmonton.
With respect to Elementary School students and their parents, the budget will increase funding to match enrollment.
B-Post-Secondary Students - The government will extend a freeze on enrollment fee for a third year. There is also a two percent hike to operating grants for institutions.
C-The 2017 budget allocates $ 400 million over four years for the planning and implementation of a new hospital in Edmonton, the first in a generation.
For Patients and Seniors, the budget calls for the construction of a new hospital in Edmonton, a center for ongoing care in Calgary and build or improve care facilities throughout the province.
D-The ecosystem-conscious, in the next three years, the province will reinvest $ 5.4 billion of carbon tax in every field, from energy-saving light bulbs to fast transport projects.
E-Smokers and drinkers, the budget does not contain rises in the price of cigarettes or liquors.
I would also like to mention also those who did not benefit from the recent budget announcement.
A-The Corporations are on the front line, as corporate profits were hit hard in 2015 and 2016 and budget forecasts will take another five years to recover.
B-Future taxpayers - Even if oil prices bounce back as expected, Alberta debt will be $ 71 billion at the end of the decade with interest payments of more than $ 2 billion a year.
C-Natural gas prices, prices are expected to remain weak mainly due to increased US gas production.
While the annuncements left Alberta residents quite generally satisfied, there are still many details that were not mentioned or mentioned, so personally, I believe that in the near future we will hear updates, news and specifications in relation to the budget 2017.