By Kevin Orland
Aug 27, 2019
“When it comes to comparing debt-to-GDP relative to other provinces, while that’s of interest, the reality is I don’t want a race to the bottom,” Toews said in response to reporters’ questions. The province spent C$93 million more on debt-servicing costs last quarter, money that Toews said would be better spent on services for Albertans.
Alberta had net debt of about 7% of its gross domestic product, the lowest among Canada’s 10 provinces, according to the previous government’s most recent budget.
Alberta’s deficit in the quarter from April through June was C$835 million, down from C$1.2 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to Tuesday’s report. Expenses fell 2.5% to C$14.3 billion, driven by an 84% drop in spending on capital grants to cities. Many grants that would have been made earlier in the year were delayed into July because of the post-election government hand-off, and those expenditures will resurface in the current quarter’s figures, Toews said.
Revenue was little changed at C$13.4 billion last quarter, with increases in income tax and non-renewable resource revenue offset by drops in other taxes and revenues such as energy industry levies and Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis Commission income. Operating expenses in the quarter rose 2.2%, driven by physician compensation and drug costs.
The report didn’t include economic projections and other figures such releases typically include.