The online Budget 2015 survey received 40,513 responses, which demonstrate a wide range of opinions with several clear themes.
- Nine out of 10 respondents feel low oil prices will greatly or somewhat affect the Alberta government’s ability to budget. (Question 1)
- Nine out of 10 respondents feel government needs to take action either immediately or within this year. (Question 3)
- When asked what is the right balance to respond to the drop in revenue, Albertans were split almost evenly three ways between reducing spending, increasing revenue and running a deficit budget. (Question 6)
“Albertans have been paying attention and they understand government needs to make tough decisions to deal with our fiscal situation. I want to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey. Budget 2015 will reflect the balanced and thoughtful approach Albertans have signaled they want. Government understands it can’t move too hard in any direction without risking further economic damage.”
When asked how the province can stabilize revenue, the top three choices from Albertans were raising tobacco taxes, increasing corporate taxes and introducing a graduated personal tax rate. (Question 9)
"Right now, businesses are struggling to keep people working. We have seen thousands of jobs lost already this year and people are worried about their jobs. Increasing the corporate tax actually hurts the overall economy and puts jobs at risk - we will not do that. Budget 2015 will be fair and balanced as we protect working families and the most vulnerable."
Responses were about evenly split between north and south, with seven out of 10 responses coming from the greater Calgary and Edmonton regions. The majority of respondents have lived in Alberta between 11 and 41 years.
In addition to the survey, various members of government, including Premier Jim Prentice, participated in a 26-stop speaking tour across Alberta that ran from early January to early March. Roughly 2,000 people attended the various events. In early December and January, Minister Campbell met with chief economists from various financial institutions and also hosted several meetings with stakeholders across Alberta.
Alberta’s budget will be released on March 26, and for the first time will be presented in a fully consolidated fiscal format supported by the Auditor General. Also for the first time, Budget 2015 will have a five-year detailed fiscal and capital plans within the context of a 10-year vision that will help Albertans see the fiscal outlook for the province.