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Budget 2012 invests in families, communities and supports for the vulnerable

Alberta maintains tax advantage with no rate increases.

Highlights:

Forecast revenue of $40.3 billion; an increase of $1.8 billion
Total expense of $41.1 billion; an increase of $1.3 billion
Investments in priorities:

Operating grants increased to school boards and post-secondary institutions
Municipalities to receive more than $2 billion in 2012-13
New funding for family care clinics, mental health and addictions services, home care and rehabilitation programs
Additional $400 per month for AISH clients
Environmental monitoring enhanced
Over three years, $16.5 billion investment in public infrastructure
No new taxes or tax rate increases
Forecast economic growth of 3.8 per cent
Deficit of $886 million in 2012-13, followed by surpluses of $952 million and $5.2 billion

The Government of Alberta is following through on its commitment to Albertans by responsibly investing in programs that support Albertans’ quality of life without raising taxes and positioning the province to balance the budget by 2013-14.

“Albertans have been clear about their priorities,” said Premier Alison Redford. “They care about their health, their children’s education, their jobs, and their communities. Through Budget 2012, we are focusing on our province’s greatest resource, its people, by supporting programs that help Albertans raise their families, protect the vulnerable and assist in securing our economic future.”

“With the Alberta economy gaining momentum and the province poised to return to surpluses, we are focused on the road ahead - investing in people and replenishing our savings, while maintaining the lowest overall tax structure in Canada,” said Finance Minister Ron Liepert. “Managing Alberta’s finances is about more than just the bottom line, it’s about ensuring government is supporting the outcomes Albertans want for themselves and their families over the long-term.”

Investing in People and Our Province

Approximately 75 per cent of the province’s budget is allocated to the core programs of health, education and human services. This includes new strategic investments in health care, a strengthened child care subsidy program, and increases to monthly benefits for income supports clients and recipients of the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped program.

In addition, Budget 2012 establishes three-year predic

Energy and Economic Assumptions

For more information on Budget 2012, please visit http://budget2012.alberta.ca

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Backgrounder: Budget highlights

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Robyn Cochrane
Director of Communications
Alberta Finance
780-427-5364

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.

Backgrounder

Budget highlights

Investing in Families and Communities

Budget 2012 provides significant investment in families and communities, including funding to improve access to the health care system:

  • 7.9% increase in operating funding for Health and Wellness to $15.9 billion.
  • 6% increase to Alberta Health Services’ base operating funding to $10.2 billion.
  • $267 million to support staffing and operating costs of South Calgary Health Campus and Edmonton Clinic South.
  • $125 million in each of the next three years to support strategic health investments, including family care clinics, additional addictions and mental health services, home care, and enhanced rehabilitation programs.

Budget 2012 will strengthen benefits and supports to vulnerable Albertans to help them reach their full potential:

  • Maximum monthly income benefit rises by $400, effective April 1, for clients of the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped program, and monthly income exemptions will double.
  • Income support rates increase by an average of 5%, the first rate increase since November 1, 2008.
  • Child care subsidy program enhanced to include full subsidy for families with a household income of $50,000 or less.
  • 6.6% funding increase for Alberta Seniors Benefit to $351 million.
  • Wage increases for contracted agency employees providing services to Albertans with developmental disabilities as well as vulnerable children, youth and families.
  • 12.3% funding increase for child intervention to a total of $682 million to provide for higher caseloads and increased case complexity, wages for agency staff, and foster care support.

Significant investment will be provided to assist municipalities in delivering services to their residents:

  • More than $2 billion in capital and direct operating support to municipalities in 2012-13, mostly through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative and infrastructure grants through the Capital Plan. Funding includes nearly $273 million in direct operating support for Family and Community Support Services, policing, and other services.
  • $14 million for the Safe Communities Innovation Fund to support crime prevention pilot projects and development of municipal, regional and Aboriginal community crime reduction and prevention plans.
  • 90 new RCMP officers and 55 new sheriffs by 2013-14.
  • 180 new correctional peace officers and other staff for the new remand centre in Edmonton.
  • $110 million to provide outreach support services as well as housing for another 1,800 homeless Albertans, and more than 3,100 spaces in emergency and transitional shelters.

Investing in Students and Research

Budget 2012 includes significant investment in learning:

  • 3.4% increase to operating funding for Education to $6.2 billion in 2012-13. Total operating and property tax support to public and separate school boards will increase from nearly
    $6.1 billion in 2012-13 to more than $6.5 billion by 2014-15.
    In 2012-13 this includes:
    • $482 million to operate and maintain schools.
    • $289 million to support student transportation services.
    • $232 million for the Small Class Size Initiative.
  • 2.7% increase to operating funding for Advanced Education to nearly $2.9 billion in 2012-13.
  • Operating grants to post-secondary institutions will increase by two per cent per year over the next three years.
  • $200 million in 2012-13 for student financial assistance through loan remission and debt management programs, scholarships, bursaries and grants.
  • $274 million in student loans to more than 53,000 students in 2012-13.

Budget 2012 also includes a focus on research and development that improves Alberta’s competitiveness in the global marketplace:

  • $9 million increase in funding for research, innovation and technology commercialization to $275 million, mainly delivered through Alberta Innovates, to support research efforts in key areas such as agriculture, energy and environment. 
  • $25 million enhancement to Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit.

Investing in World-Leading Resource Stewardship

Budget 2012 will advance Alberta’s world-leading resource stewardship, with investment in programs and services that will improve environmental stewardship and help solidify Alberta’s position as a preferred global supplier of agriculture, energy, and forest products and services.

  • $11 million in new funding to help deliver a world-class environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting system, beginning in the Lower Athabasca Region.
  • $444 million for bioenergy initiatives over three years.
  • $145 million in capital and operating support for Water for Life Strategy.
  • $70 million for greening energy production and climate change adaptation through Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund.
  • $60 million to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Canada ecoTrust for Clean Air and Climate Change initiative.
  • $1 billion for Agriculture and Rural Development including:
    • $421 million for crop, hail and livestock insurance programs.
    • $39 million to build an internationally respected, competitive and profitable livestock and meat industry through the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency Ltd.
  • $24 million to grow Alberta’s presence internationally to ensure better market access for our products.

Investing in Public Infrastructure

Over the next three years, $16.5 billion will be allocated to public infrastructure to support Albertans’ quality of life and help position the province for economic growth. This includes:

  • $5.6 billion in combined total support for municipal infrastructure over three years, including $2.8 billion from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI), $540 million from the GreenTRIP program, and $2.3 billion in municipal transportation and water infrastructure grants.
  • $3.5 billion for provincial highways.
  • $2.6 billion for health facilities and equipment.
  • $1 billion for schools.
  • $300 million for housing programs including social housing, affordable housing and Homelessness Prevention Initiative.
  • $25 million in each of the next three years for the Affordable Supportive Living Initiative for seniors’ housing.

Major Projects expected to be completed in 2012:

  • 14 new schools
  • Edmonton Clinic South
  • South Calgary Health Campus
  • Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital
  • SAIT Trades & Technology Complex
  • Bow Valley College Expansion
  • Edmonton Remand Centre

Over the next three years, construction will also be completed or underway on:

  • 22 new or replacement schools and 13 school modernizations announced in May 2011.
  • Health facilities in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, High Prairie, Edson, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Sherwood Park.
  • The Northeast Anthony Henday Drive ring road in Edmonton and the Southeast Stoney Trail ring road in Calgary.
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Media inquiries may be directed to:

Robyn Cochrane
Director of Communications
Alberta Finance
780-427-5364

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.


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