Winners and losers from the UCP's first budget
EDMONTON -- Alberta's 2019 budget contained the promised "surgical cuts" to a number of areas and institutions. There were few funding boosts, but there were nonetheless some winners on budget day.
Alberta's corporate tax rate is now the lowest in Canada, with the province's job creation tax cut reducing it one per cent each year, from 12 to eight per cent through 2022.
The UCP says the cut will increase investment by approximately $4 billion per year by 2023.
Companies that make new investments in Alberta will receive up to $900 million in tax deferrals over four years as part of a new capital cost allowance.
LOSER: Post-secondary students and institutions
Alberta's post-secondary budget is decreasing 12 per cent over the next four years, from $5.1 billion to $4.8 billion.
Tuition and education credits are being eliminated on Jan. 1, 2020.
WINNER: Mental health
In a budget made up largely of cuts, mental health care is one of the few things to see a funding boost. The government is pledging an increase of $100 million in the area over its four-year term.
That figure is included in the province's one per cent funding increase for overall health care.
LOSER: Public sector
Alberta's public sector is among the bigger budget cuts, with a 7.7 per cent reduction resulting in a loss of 1,588 jobs.
The UCP estimates a compensation reduction of 2.1 per cent will save $552 million through 2022-23.
Ahead of the budget, the Alberta Teachers' Association expressed concerns that while provincial funding was staying largely the same, it was being outstripped by rising enrolment that in turn forced increasingly bigger class sizes.
This year's budget doesn't do much to calm those concerns with the province maintaining an $8.2 billion education expense from the year prior.
"Education's current funding model is not sustainable,” budget documents reads.
"More students, complex student needs, growing programs and increasing costs need a new framework to support better student outcomes sustainably."
Enrolment has gone up by 21 per cent since 2005-06 and schools will have to make tough decisions on how to deal with those increases in the face of flat funding.