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Alberta Budget 2020 winners and losers
EDMONTON -- The United Conservative Party's second budget continued to focus on creating more jobs and boosting Alberta's economy while largely holding public sector spending, including health and education.
“We are putting a growth and prosperity lens on everything we do to ensure the choices we make as a government support economic growth and jobs for Albertans,” said Finance Minister Travis Toews.
Here are the winners and losers from Budget 2020:
Agriculture received a big boost in the budget's centrepiece policy, A Blueprint for Jobs, with the Alberta government adding 2,000 new positions in canola processing, food processing and the pork industry. The new jobs are expected to grow the agriculture sector by eight per cent.
The City of Edmonton is not slated to be a big beneficiary in the province's $6.9-billion Capital Plan. While Calgary and Red Deer are slated for funding toward major infrastructure projects over the next three years, Edmonton, and northern Alberta, will receive money for laboratory equipment.
Alberta wants to double tourism dollars to $20 billion by 2030 in an attempt to create more jobs and attract investment in the province. The province will not invest that money; rather it will develop a plan to attract more tourists to generate that revenue.
LOSER: HEALTH AND EDUCATION
Health spending will remain at $20.6 billion and K-12 education will receive an extra $100 million, from $8.2 billion to $8.3 billion; however, that money will not come from the province, but from the school's own-source revenue.
"A minimum of 2.9% additional funding is necessary to keep Alberta's health care spending in line with inflation and population growth each year – the spending freeze through 2023, as outlined in today's budget, will mean fewer health care dollars spent in the health care system," a Friends of Medicare spokesperson said.
The Alberta Teachers' Association expects 30,000 students to enter Alberta schools by next fall.
“Ultimately, more students with the same funding means larger class sizes and less supports for learning," ATA President Jason Schilling said.
The government is promising $200 million for start-ups to support research and innovation in artificial intelligence, aviation and aerospace.
LOSER: PUBLIC SECTOR
Public sector jobs were slashed by 7.7 per cent in Budget 2019, and the government said it would remove more positions through attrition by 2023-24.
"It's actually a job-killing budget when it comes to the public sector," said Guy Smith, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees president. "There's reductions across the board on all departments, in government services, in health care, and in post secondary."