CALGARY - Alberta Premier Alison Redford says raising royalty rates for energy companies won't be on the table as experts gather in Calgary this weekend to hash out the provinces's financial woes.
"I don't know what people are going to say on Saturday at the summit. I can predict what some people are going to say just based on their reputation," Redford said Tuesday.
"But we made it very clear that we think supporting our energy industry is fundamental to our future economic success. There are other things we need to do as well but very clearly we will not change royalties."
Redford will preside over an economic summit in Calgary that is being billed as an opportunity to brainstorm solutions to the province's reliance on energy revenues ahead of the March 7 budget.
Redford said falling oil prices in the U.S. market will take a $6-billion bite out of Alberta's bottom line next year and it's time to figure out ways to improve spending and how to get the province off the roller-coaster of volatile energy revenues.
Redford's predecessor, Ed Stelmach announced a new royalty framework in 2007 that would give Albertans their "fair share" of the resource they own.
However, the energy sector railed against that new regime, moving their investment dollars elsewhere. It forced the Alberta government to do an about-face on its royalty framework to lure activity back to the province.
Redford said another matter that won't be considered is the possibility of re-introducing health-care premiums.
The fees cost families about $1,056 a year before they were eliminated four years ago.
The Alberta Medical Association and the province have been negotiating a new deal for doctors for almost two years. Frustrated by the lack of progress, the government imposed a deal on doctors last November, but later backed off, allowing talks to continue.
"The salaries of doctors in our whole provincial budget is 8.5 per cent of the provincial budget," said Redford.
"That's a pretty fundamental decision for us to make representing the people of Alberta as we move forward with a $6 billion revenue shortfall," she added. "I've made it clear that we have no more money."
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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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.