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Bob Layton: Budgeting for a surprise

WATCH ABOVE: In his latest editorial, Bob Layton talks about the new Alberta budget.

We are headed into a different financial future. The UCP’s hired panel has Premier Jason Kenney using its famous blue ribbon as a tourniquet.

READ MORE: Alberta government to release Blue Ribbon Panel’s findings on how to climb out of deficit

It’s wrapped tightly around the provincial accounting artery holding back the flow of money for the LRT and the Terwilligar Drive Expansion and more.

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2019 — What’s in it for Edmonton?

City council had been warned earlier about controlling spending, and if it has to borrow up front to complete some projects, your property tax could go up to cover the interest.

The provincial budget will affect your personal budget as the province preaches the importance of living within your means. You’ll be paying more to smoke or to vape. Your tuitions will go up. You’ll have to pay more to learn more so you can earn more.

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School teachers are afraid funding cuts will mean bigger classrooms. You will pay more to register your car and higher fees when you sell your home.

On the more positive side, the $37-million library grant will be maintained. Fifty new prosecutors will be hired. There will be more funds to address human trafficking and caseload pressures in Community and Social Services. School nutrition programs will get a $15-million expansion. And, there is $160-million for mental health and addictions treatment and palliative care.

The Kenney team predicts that if we all co-operate, we’ll see a surplus in four years, but that also depends on the corporate tax cuts attracting business and jobs to Alberta, and the pipeline getting built.

READ MORE: Jason Kenney and UCP promise $714M budget surplus by 2023

Luckily for us, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promises the TMX will go ahead. And to counter your higher Alberta budget fees, Trudeau is also promising a tax cut for the middle class.

The question now is, which politician do you trust?

Bob Layton is the news manager of the Corus Edmonton group of radio stations.