Alberta's finance minister is forecasting a balanced budget for 2013 despite his associate minister suggesting otherwise.

Doug Horner said next year's provincial budget will be balanced as the premier has promised.

The province has run multibillion-dollar budget deficits since heady financial times crashed with the global recession of 2008.

The government has used billions of dollars from its sustainability fund to avoid sinking deep into debt.

Premier Alison Redford has repeatedly promised a balanced budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, but associate finance minister Kyle Fawcett said Wednesday it might not happen.

"We haven't decided one way or the other," said Kyle Fawcett. "There's going to be some decisions we make throughout the process and that will lead up to the budget in the new year.

"What we are committing to is balancing the operating budget."

The operating budget covers day-to-day spending but does not include billions of dollars for infrastructure such as roads, bridges and schools.

That promoted quick reaction from the Wildrose opposition.

"That's like saying my budget is balanced because I paid all my bills except my mortgage and car payments so those are extra but I've balanced the rest of it," said MLA Rob Anderson.

"I'm shocked to hear what the associate minister is saying because it does sound like their commitment now is only to balance the operating budget which of course is balanced now and has been for years.

"Obviously they intend on breaking this promise."

The Tories run the risk of draining the sustainability fund and putting the province back into debt, said Anderson.

But Thursday morning Horner maintained that the province will have a balanced budget come spring.

"Any payments that we're making on our (construction projects) will be included in that balancing situation."

Earlier this year the government forecast a balanced budget with surpluses of nearly $1 billion in 2013-14 and $5.2 billion in 2014-15.

But now the province is finding commodity prices aren't as high as were expected and land sales are not near the record levels they reached last year.

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  • Here's a breakdown of how the Alberta government parceled out spending last year. Information provided is <a href="http://finance.alberta.ca/business/budget/2012-13-Expense-by-Function.pdf">Expense by Function estimates</a> provided by the Alberta government.

  • General Government

    7.1 per cent of the budget went to General Government - Includes a broad range of additional services including funding for parks and recreation, cultural activities, housing initiatives, economic development, costs to run government and debt servicing expenses (interest payments).

  • Environment

    1 per cent of the budget went to Environmental funding - Provides for environmental monitoring and protection, including pollution control, water supply management, air quality control, garbage collection and waste disposal and a host of other environmental programs and initiatives.

  • Regional Planning and Development

    2.7 per cent of the budget went to Regional Planning and Development - Includes amounts for planning and regional development and a portion of the grants made directly to municipalities, including the Municipal Sustainability Initiative.

  • Protections of Persons and Property

    3.9 per cent of the budget went to Protections of Persons and Property - Includes amounts for the protection of persons and property, including amounts for policing and security, the provincial court system, correctional and rehabilitation services, firefighting, labour relations and a host of other regulatory measures.

  • Transportation, Communications and Utilities

    4. 6 per cent of the budget went to Transportation, Communications and Utilities - Includes amounts related to road, rail and air transport and maintenance, public transit grants, as well as pipelines, utilities and telecommunications networks.

  • Agriculture, Resource Management and Economic Development

    5.4 per cent of the budget went to Agriculture, Resource Management and Economic Development - Includes amounts for farming support programs, food supply quality monitoring and protection, weed and pest control, crop insurance programs, natural resource management, economic and rural development, irrigation and veterinary care.

  • Social Services

    11.5 of the budget went to Social Services - Includes social assistance (e.g. AISH), pension benefits, and care for children, seniors and other vulnerable Albertans.

  • Education

    22.9 per cent of the budget went to Education - Includes Early Childhood Services to Grade 12, as well as post-secondary education, skills training and the construction and maintenance of educational facilities.

  • Health

    40.9 per cent of the budget went to Health - Consists of expenses incurred to ensure necessary health services are available to Albertans and includes funding for hospitals, medical and preventative care and the construction and maintenance of provincial health facilities.


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  • Alison Redford on insisting Alberta wont's see a PST

    “Gosh, my goodness. Today is Thursday. Did I say it yesterday? Did I say it on Tuesday? Did I say it on Friday?” “We are not introducing a provincial sales tax, period. I’ll say it again tomorrow if you like." February 2013.

  • Alison Redford's Christmas Greeting

    In a tongue-in-cheek greeting on This Hour Has 22 Minutes 2012 holiday special, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/07/alison-redford-funny-christmas-greeting_n_2258800.html?1354906380">Redford shared the following message to Canada</a> - "Christmas is my favourite time of year in Alberta. Most people spend their time with family and friends. I choose to spend the bulk of my time the way I do the rest of the year - having a scotch with my friends from the oil and gas industry; talking about how to relax environmental regulations." Looks like another mild winter. You're welcome, Canada."

  • Ed Stelmach On U.S.

    "A good neighbour lends you a cup of sugar. A great neighbour supplies you with 1.4 million barrels of oil per day." -- <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/831381--don-t-tread-on-ed-premier-stelmach-defends-alberta-oilsands-in-washington-post" target="_hplink">In an ad in <em>The Washington Post.</em></a> (CP)

  • Redford On B.C. Premier Clark

    "We have every other premier across the country understanding the importance of the energy economy and understanding that it's important for all Canadians that we do work together." -- <a href="http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/alberta/Debate+over+Northern+Gateway+pipeline+entirely+appropriate/7088360/story.html" target="_hplink">Taking a jab at B.C. Premier Christy Clark.</a> (CP)

  • Ralph Klein on Evolution

    "Dinosaur farts." -- On what may have brought about the <a href="http://www.edmontonsun.com/news/alberta/2010/12/14/16554851.html" target="_hplink">Ice Age.</a> (CP)

  • Ralph Klein On Belinda Stronach

    "I wasn't surprised that she crossed over to the Liberals. I don't think she ever did have a Conservative bone in her body. Well, maybe one." -- Speaking at a charity roast in 2006, <a href="http://www.edmontonsun.com/news/alberta/2010/12/14/16554851.html" target="_hplink">Klein comments on MP Belinda Stronach</a>, who used to date fellow Tory MP Peter McKay, crossing the floor to join the Liberal Party. (CP)

  • Ralph Klein takes on Dalton McGuinty

    "I'm no doctor, but I think that Mr. McGuinty's got a case of premature speculation," said Klein, reacting to comments made in March 2006 by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty opposing any two-tiered health care system in Ontario that Klein has proposed in Alberta, which was believed would allow quicker access to surgery for those who pay.

  • Peter Lougheed On Oilsands Development

    "Would somebody please outline to me the advantages of our doing it this way? For me, an Albertan? What are they? Can you give me a couple of them? What do I as an Albertan gain by this mad rush up there?" -- <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/the-second-coming-of-peter-lougheed/article659021/?page=all" target="_hplink">He asks in <em>The Globe And Mail</em></a>. (CP)

  • Ralph Klein On Mad Cow Disease

    "I guess any self-respecting rancher would have shot, shovelled and shut up, but he didn't do that. Instead he took it to an abattoir." -- At the discovery of mad cow disease <a href="http://ca.m.yahoo.com/w/legobpengine/news/blogs/former-alberta-premier-ralph-klein-finally-getting-order-223011036.html?.b=entertainment&.ts=1340325348&.intl=ca&.lang=en-ca&.ysid=yXfXSNumJYMPRMtsjsr3kcZ6" target="_hplink">on an Alberta ranch.</a> (CP)

  • Ralph Klein On Edmonton

    A fine city with too many socialists and mosquitoes. At least you can spray the mosquitoes." -- In 1990 as a <a href="http://www.edmontonsun.com/news/alberta/2010/12/14/16554851.html" target="_hplink">Tory MLA from Calgary.</a> (CP)

  • Peter Lougheed On NEP

    "Let them freeze in the dark." -- Lougheed takes on Trudeau regarding the NEP in the 70s. The quote is also cited as the more contentious bumper sticker fodder, 'Let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark.'