Province says first quarter revenue higher than predicted
Published Thursday, August 29, 2013 5:05AM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 29, 2013 12:55PM MDT
Alberta's Finance Minister Doug Horner released the first quarter fiscal update on Thursday and says that increased oil prices and investment income have resulted in about a $200M jump in revenue for the province.
He says that the operational expenses are $9.2B which is a decrease of about $113M, but there was an overall operating surplus of $715M in the first quarter.
The government says that by the end of the fiscal year, operational results are expected to be balanced, wtih a surplus of $250M to a deficit of $500M expected at that time.
In terms of flood recovery, about $704M has been allocated for flood recovery for individuals, businesses, and communities.
Horner says that the province's strong financial position allowed them to immediately address the needs of those impacted. "Right now, our best estimates show the June flooding disaster to be about a $5B event. While costs will be shared—with funding from the Alberta government, the federal government, municipalities and insurance claims—the disaster will impact our finances. We’re certainly in for some challenges. But with a solid commitment from the federal government for their contribution to support disaster recovery, and thanks to our strong economy and higher revenues in first quarter, we are in a good position to help get lives back to normal.”
He also made the suggestion that the flooding would actually show a positive increase to the economy.
Rob Anderson, Wildrose finance critic, says that the province's talk of surplus after the severe flooding in Alberta is hard to believe.
"Many people have lost their homes and businesses, it's a financial disaster for the province and the people for the province. So, for them to say it's somehow advantageous to our bottom line is almost beyond belief. As is the fact they're claiming they have a budget surplus. Finance Minister Horner is a budget contortionist and a twister champion if he thinks they're in surplus right now, " said Anderson.
Premier Redford says her government won’t be backing out of the infrastructure commitments it made in March’s budget announcement.
However, the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation says that Albertans could be hit with higher taxes.
Premier Redford was in Exshaw on Wednesday, where she spoke with members of the community that was hit hard in the flooding.
She says she also spoke with community leaders to make sure they are making the right decisions and investments for the community to thrive in the future.
About 75 percent of the homes in Exshaw suffered damage from the floods.