The United Conservatives say Rachel Notley and the NDP need to show how they are going to pay for big-ticket spending promises they are making during the campaign for the April 16 Alberta election.
Jason Nixon, the UCP’s house leader, says Notley needs to explain which taxes she would increase to keep her promise to balance the budget by 2023.
Notley has promised new money for many projects, including more funding to hire teachers, to reduce surgical waiting lists and to cover drug costs for low- and middle-income seniors.
Nixon says the NDP has a poor track record on financial management, given that the provincial debt is projected to hit $95 billion by 2023.
Notley has said her party will soon be releasing its financial projections, which remain on track for a balanced budget in 2023.
Nixon says the NDP has no credibility since it originally said it intended to balance the books by 2017.
“Albertans will have paid $2 billion in interest on the NDP debt this fiscal year alone, which is more than 19 of 23 government departments,” Nixon told a news conference Friday.
“It is clear that the NDP are not serious about balancing the budget. This will have real consequences for Albertans. Higher debt and more interest (payments) simply means less for public services.”
Responding to the UCP announcement, NDP candidate Sarah Hoffman maintained the announcements her party is making fit with their timeline of a balanced budget by 2023.
“We think it’s important to invest in things like a second highway in and out of Fort McMurray, making sure that we have the long-term care beds that our seniors deserve and making sure that families can afford child care,” Hoffman said.
“We’re proud of our priorities and giving Albertans an opportunity to vote for them on April 16.”
Hoffman said the party would roll out full details of the cost of its plans in the coming days.
“We have not made commitments around any kind of tax increases. We think it’s important that we continue to have the significant tax advantage that we do.”
With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News.