The combination of worsening economic conditions and the government's refusal to change course on spending means Alberta will rack up debt more quickly, with a projected budget deficit of $28.9 billion over the next three years. For context, that's roughly 50 per cent more than currently sits in the Heritage Fund, a "nest egg" that took decades to build.
Beyond higher taxes or more debt, there has always been another option: prudent spending. However, that is something the Alberta government has been less than adept at in some years. For instance, had the province increased program spending after 2005/06 and to 2012/2013 but only in line with inflation and population growth, it would have spent $22 billion less compared to what it actually sent out the door.