23 November 2010

Long Way To Go For Albertans

Alberta, a province in the West of Canada is in trouble post-recession.

New figures released by finance minister Ted Morton show that Alberta is heading towards the prospect of a $5 billion deficit.

This prediction exceeds the estimated deficit total that was made in the spring budget by a quarter million dollars.

The increased deficit total of $257million is linked to a number of factors including lower employment levels and a decreased number of visitors, all of which were catapulted into a downtrend by the recession. The province has also struggled to replace a once-huge revenue take decimated by the drop in the price of abundant natural gas

As well as the above contributors, Alberta saw financial losses due to an influx of emergency funding that totalled $534 million as money was used to fund a multitude of natural disasters such as flooding, mountain pine beetles and wild fires. The province also took a hit of $1.1 billion on the personal income tax ledger.

It is estimated that Alberta used funds of up to $38 million to renovate a Edmonton nursing home. Villa Caritas is used to house senior psychiatric patients who are moved out of Alberta Hospital.

Despite Morton describing such a downtrend as “the new normal” the Finance Minister assures the public that the next two years will see the return to a balanced budget as well as clarifying the unlikelihood of cuts.

“Our forecasts are always about in the middle of the private sector forecast...it means little or no expansion but it doesn’t translate into cuts.”

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