A first-quarter fiscal update from the Alberta government is reporting consistent revenues compared with the same period last year.
The province says it brought in $13.4 billion from April to June — almost identical to the number in 2018.
Resource revenue was $164 million higher, mainly from a narrower oil price differential. Income tax revenue was also up $166 million due to growth in household income and corporate profits.
The deficit was $835 million – $365 million lower than in the first quarter last year.
But Finance Minister Travis Toews said he’s concerned overall, since operating expenses grew $270 million and debt-servicing costs increased $93 million.
“These numbers do not paint a rosy picture,” Toews told a news conference Tuesday.
“Our year-over-year revenue has remained flat, but we’re burdened with cost pressures and compounding debt left by previous governments.”
Watch below: Finance Minister Travis Toews offered a fiscal update on the state of Alberta’s finances on Tuesday. Tom Vernon has the details.
Toews said the province’s overall debt has grown to almost $63 billion. He said most of that was accumulated in the last four years under the NDP government.
“We have flat revenues. We have increasing expenses, all on a trajectory that the previous government put us on that would reach $100 billion in debt in the very, not too distant future.”
Watch below: Finance Minister Travis Toews said Tuesday that the latest update shows Alberta has work to do to get back on track after big spending by the previous NDP government.
He said Alberta needs to find ways to “exercise restraint” and his goal is to balance the budget each year, then work to erase the debt.
Premier Jason Kenney has said he won’t release his United Conservative government’s first budget until the fall.
A panel, headed by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon, was to complete a report about Alberta’s finances earlier this month. The province has said it plans to release the report in early September.
Kenney has said he expects the report will show the province’s economy is spiralling.
The Opposition NDP has said the report is likely to give Kenney cover if he introduces wage and job cuts to public-sector workers.