Alberta Budget: Alison Redford Drops Tough Budget Hints

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ALISON REDFORD TOBACCO
Alison Redford hints Alberta budget may be tough. | CP

EDMONTON - Alberta Premier Alison Redford is dropping more hints about a tough budget, but no hard facts on where the axe might fall.

Redford said Monday the recent drop in oil prices is costing her government $75 million in expected revenue each day.

"We know, as Albertans, that we go through volatile times, and this is certainly one of them," she said following a meeting with her government caucus.

"The work that we’re doing right now with caucus, really productive meetings today, is to talk about what some of those tough choices might be."

Redford said Albertans want the government to live within its means while maintaining communities, health, education and infrastructure.

With those areas making up the lion's share of government spending, Redford isn't saying where the cost savings might come from.

But she said there will not be across-the-board spending cuts.

There is no word on when the government will deliver its budget.

Redford's warnings have some of the opposition parties speculating about what is to come.

Alberta Liberal Laurie Blakeman said the government may have to break or delay making good on its promise to increase Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding.

“The Tories have a long history of promising municipalities everything under the sun, and then failing to deliver,” said Blakeman.

New Democrat finance critic Dave Eggen said instead of cutting spending the government should look at increasing revenue.

He said the government could easily do this by raising energy royalties, hiking corporate taxes and replacing the 10 per cent flat personal income tax with a progressive system where wealthy people pay more.

"The point is the government has failed to manage its projected revenues in an honest way," Eggen said.

"They have painted themselves into a corner here and the people who will suffer will be regular Albertans who will see program cuts."

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