The Challenge
Alberta is fortunate to have an innovative and industrious population and an abundance of natural resources. It has allowed us to enjoy the highest standard of living in Canada, at the lowest rate of taxation - and all with no long-term government debt.
But volatile resources revenues and a lack of access to markets for our oil and gas products has reduced government revenues. Your government is currently working through the 2013/2014 budget process - making the necessary decisions to protect your priorities, plan for the future, and keep our economy moving.
This tool is intended to give Albertans insight into the decisions government must make in order to balance a budget. As you work through your budget, consider the impacts and advantages of the choices you make, and whether they align with your personal views on how government should spend public money.
The examples used in this tool are taken from actual items in the 2012/2013 provincial budget. While not comprehensive, it offers a broad cross-section of the kinds of programs and services Albertans receive, and the possible impacts cuts might have. Some of the statements made in this tool represent possible advantages and disadvantages associated with budgetary changes to specific programs, and are not intended to advocate for or dissuade the public from supporting budgetary changes.
Albertans deserve responsibility and accountability when politicians spend public funds, and transparency is crucial to delivering on that trust. This tool is meant to give an easy-to-understand insight into the process decision makers undertake when putting together a budget. What are your budget priorities? How would you balance the budget?