Message From Todd Hirsch
Having weathered three years of recession, two major oil price collapses, a 40-year high rate of inflation and a global pandemic, Alberta has had its share of challenges over the past decade. Not only have times been difficult for many Alberta households, the years have been hard on the provincial government’s financial situation.
It is said that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. And once again, the situation has taken a turn for the better. Stronger resource prices in 2022 – much of that related to geopolitical strife in Europe – has generated yet another windfall of resource income for the province.
The financial surplus expected in fiscal 2022-23 could top $10 billion, more than 20 times what was originally budgeted. Because resource prices could remain high for some time, and because many oilsands projects in Alberta are close to reaching higher royalty payouts, more surpluses could be in store for the coming years.
Of course anything could happen. And it could be happening. Threats of a global recession could drag prices down, reducing or even eliminating those surpluses. There is no certainty.
But we must think about the future. And we must have a plan in place for the future.
Drawing on the wisdom and experience of dozens of expert economists, business leaders, labour leaders and community members, this report provides advice and recommendations on how the provincial government should approach fiscal surpluses.
Rather than allowing reckless and haphazard decisions to squander away surpluses, government should be thoughtful and deliberate.
In the full report that follows, I provide 8 concrete recommendations that can help the Government of Alberta approach its budgeting process and design a thoughtful fiscal strategy.
A strategy that provides guidance for longer term fiscal planning, and that helps build a better fiscal future for Albertans.
I would like to thank the 37 individuals and organizations that participated in the development of this report.