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Alberta Budget 2017: Balanced budget equals layoffs, says Premier Notley

WATCH ABOVE: Team coverage of Alberta Budget 2017.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says anyone who claims the province can balance its budget in two or three years is talking about thousands of layoffs.

Notley made the comment at an Edmonton school a day after her NDP government delivered a budget that forecasts a $10.3-billion deficit this year, putting Alberta on track to rack up $45-billion in debt by the end of this year.

READ MORE: Alberta NDP tables fingers-crossed budget, projects $10.3-billion deficit 

Notley says she knows Albertans are worried about the growing size of the debt, but says it is “absolutely manageable.”

She says when schools and hospitals aren’t built to keep up with population growth, that actually creates debt.

Watch below: The Alberta NDP says budget 2017 is good for families, business groups. But credit rating agencies are worried about the multi-billion dollar debt and deficit. Fletcher Kent has more on the government’s effort to sell the budget.

Click to play video 'NDP sells budget 2017 as Albertans voice concerns over multi-billion dollar debt' NDP sells budget 2017 as Albertans voice concerns over multi-billion dollar debt
NDP sells budget 2017 as Albertans voice concerns over multi-billion dollar debt – Mar 17, 2017

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2017 promises new hospital for Edmonton, more Calgary long-term care, nothing for Red Deer hospital

Opposition leaders have called for the government to curb spending and say crushing future debt loads will threaten front-line services

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Notley says there’s a huge backlog of unfunded infrastructure, which she says is also debt, and that paying that off is more expensive.

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2017: Winners and losers 

The province anticipates its debt will hit $71 billion by 2020. Debt servicing costs will be $1.4 billion this year and $2.3 billion by the end of the decade.