Alberta takes action to control spending
Cost containment measures taken immediately, and new committee lays foundation for Budget 2015.
Resource revenues are expected to be lower while the population is expected to be higher, and the combination poses some unique challenges for Alberta.
“This is not budgeting as usual. Governing responsibly requires us to be disciplined with spending, prudent with revenues, and cautious with forecasts. We are taking action, and I have asked a team to devote their energy and attention to ensuring we make the right decisions for Albertans.”
A new seven-member Budget 2015 Committee will begin work on the 2015 budget. Members are:
- Jim Prentice, Premier (chair);
- Robin Campbell, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance (vice-chair);
- Stephen Mandel, Minister of Health;
- Diana McQueen, Minister of Municipal Affairs;
- Frank Oberle, Minister of Energy;
- Manmeet Bhullar, Minister of Infrastructure; and
- Ric McIver, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour
The committee’s work begins immediately, and will continue until the budget is introduced in the spring. The committee will be looking at economic projections, capital and operating budgets, policy commitments, and revenue forecasts. It will make recommendations to Treasury Board.
Ministers are not receiving additional compensation for this work.
The Government of Alberta is also taking action to control spending for the remainder of this fiscal year through cost containment measures.
“While our provincial financial picture is strong and we are in the best position to deal with this low price environment, it is important that we take action and control spending. Sustained low prices are having a significant impact on provincial revenues and we must exercise fiscal discipline and treat taxpayer dollars prudently.”
A number of actions are being taken to control spending in three main areas:
Effective immediately, a hiring restraint initiative has been implemented. The intent is to limit any growth in overall staffing costs. Hiring may still occur for positions that are critical to government operations or provide frontline services to Albertans. These will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with Deputy Ministers required to review and approve recruitment to all positions.
Public sector compensation is the largest driver of government expense, accounting for $22.5 billion in direct and indirect spending last fiscal year.
Procurement of goods and services
Spending on goods and services is to be limited, wherever possible, to those required to meet critical operational requirements or legal commitments.
Any discretionary grants, travel, training and other related costs are to be limited across government unless they are required to meet critical operational requirements or legal commitments.
Agencies, Boards and Commissions along with the SUCH sector (Schools, Universities, Colleges and Health Authorities) will also be asked to implement similar cost containment measures.