Today Premier Alison Redford reveals the provincial budget. Hampered by election promises to balance the budget, she and the Alberta Tories face tough decisions. Decisions that will be tougher yet for average Albertans. Premier Redford has more than hinted at tightened spending and yet has promised to start saving. Will this happen at the expense of public sector workers? Those favourite and easy villains, Doctors, Nurses, Health Care Workers and Teachers will likely bear the brunt of the coming cuts. Alberta's flat tax rate and breaks for corporations need to be revisited. Even saying sales tax in Alberta is a kind of heresy, yet a 5% sales tax would help to make up the provincial deficit. Premier Redford has promised no new taxes so that avenue of increasing revenue is out. Corporations should pony up...we are so afraid that they will go elsewhere. Doubtful. Scanadanavian Countries and other oil producers keep fair royalties and the companies don't leave. The Dow-Jones and the TSX have both shown big gains in the last couple of days. Why? With all the hand wringing about the economy, corporations are still making money and investors are taking advantage. The budget will be presented in a confusing three column format. A format that will make it much more difficult for the normal person to decipher. Rest assured, though, health and education cuts are coming.
At the same time, an announcement is made that all long term care facilities will schedule baths for residents twice a week. Interesting? How does overworked staff manage twice as many baths? What is staff is cut? More baths should not have to be mandated; it's more than a question of hygiene and more one of dignity. Classrooms are overcrowded in city schools and rural schools struggle with the problem of providing competitive programming for students. Cuts will make a difference to students. Be sure of this. What is the answer? No one has a simple solution to our budget woes. There must, however, be something more creative than the time-honoured and straight forward cutting of funding to our most vulnerable. Hopefully the budget is creative and fair.
Yes, I'm of a certain age but I'm pretty spry and like to think still smart enough.