Alberta posts a 4.6 billion surplus.
Record high oil prices and a booming population pushed Alberta’s budget surplus to $4.6 billion in the 2007-08 fiscal year — despite record spending.
The financial report for the year ended March 31 shows that resource revenues shot well past early predictions and reached $11 billion — the third-highest in Alberta history.
Government officials concede that with oil now trading at more than US$130 a barrel another windfall of resource revenues is in the offing.
But a bustling economy also pushed government spending to record levels to relieve a backlog of building projects and higher health and education costs.
Oh, I know us selfish, rednecked Albertans aren't willing to share with poor, soon to be have not, Ontario. Hey Ontario, who do you think is buying all those big honking trucks you produce?
I miss Ralph! He would have been in Dion's face about NEP II, and making no bones that Alberta will NOT tolerate this tax grab. Stelmach, come out, come out, where ever you are! You are the Premier, stand up for your province. Crickets.
This article at least shows someone has some backbone left in Alberta.
It's good news because the 2007-08 final figure is expected to exceed the $4 billion she booked in her April budget documents by another half a billion bucks. That surplus started life 15 months ago as a $2-billion windfall.
The usual suspects are to blame: Oil, gas and a roaring economy which cranks out mega-millions in provincial taxes.
The bad news, of course, is that there are cynical politicians out there who are devising devious ways of tapping the province's energy wealth pipeline.
"Some of the other provinces do look covetously at Alberta," Evans sighed.
Other pols - step forward, Ottawa Liberal Leader Stephane Dion - are not even being subtle about it.
Last week, Dion launched his "Green Shaft" tax-and-redistribute scheme to suck as much as $15 billion a year out of the energy economy, most of which is located right here.
Dion's describing it as a "good, bold idea" which will be "good for the planet and good for your wallet."
Iris begs to differ with the nutty professor.
"It's a poor plan," she spat. "It's not even a green plan. It impacts industry and everybody," Evans continued. "Not only in Alberta, but in other places."
While Dion's $40-a-tonne carbon tax gouge isn't aimed at the Alberta government's cash flow directly, like Pierre Trudeau's national energy program did 27 years ago, it's designed to suck the surplus energy revenue out of Alberta.
When our economy falters, so do Evans's revenues.
But Albertans aren't in this thing alone, Evans stressed.
"My hope is that they recognize that no matter what the surplus is, 50% of the taxes from the oilsands goes to other governments," she pointed out. "And 40% of the jobs."
She calls it a "shared-wealth component."
There's another reason for Dion and other eastern provincial governments to keep their hands off Alberta's economy.
"Even though on the face of it, Alberta has a surplus," the finance minister said, "we've been responsible for a large part of the strength of Canada."
But Liberals don't see it that way, they see it as a way to gain votes in Quebec and Ontario. What happens if they kill the energy industry with their green shaft? How will Ontario and Quebec be better off when those manufacturing orders from Alberta stop coming? PM Harper is right, it's a crazy plan to screw our economy.