This past November, Alberta’s finance minister, Travis Toews, presented the mid-year fiscal update. I was recently reading through the capital plan section of the fiscal update and encountered a few things that I figured I’d share with my readers.
One thing that I noticed was that the government is forecasting an increase of $2 million in capital spending for “family, social supports, and housing” by the end of March this year. That seems like a good thing, right?
Well, you tell me.
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|2019–2020 actual||$150 million|
|2020–2021 actual||$142 million|
|2021–2022 actual||$85 million|
|2022–2023 budget||$96 million|
|2022–2023 forecast||$98 million|
|2023–2024 target||$95 million|
Not only might we spend $2 million more on “family, social supports, and housing” than originally planned, but also that original plan was $11 million higher than what we spent the year before.
However, the 2021–2022 spending amount was already $57 million less than what the UCP government spent in their second year, which itself was $12 million less than what they spent in their first year. Plus, according to the November 2021 fiscal update, we were originally going to spend $110 million in 2021–2022, $15 million more than we ended up spending.
So, while we’re spending $118 million more this year than we did last year, we’re still spending $54 million less than we did 3 years ago.
That’s not all. According to the mid-year fiscal update that the government issued in November 2020, the original capital budget for “family, social supports, and housing” for the 2020–2021 budget year was $176 million, not $142 million.
We were supposed to have spent over $30 million more two years ago than we actually ended up spending, as well as $26 million more than we spent in 2019–2020.
And next year won’t be any better, dropping by $1 million from what we budgeted for this year and by $3 million from November’s forecast.
To the UCP’s credit, however, they were originally planning on spending only $93 million last year and $53 million this year, according to the 2020–2021 mid-year fiscal update. Assuming all goes according to the forecast, we’re ending up with $45 million more in “family, social supports, and housing” capital spending this year than we thought we would.
That still doesn’t change the fact that we’re dropping from $142 million to $96 million in just four years, however. Let alone down from $150 million from three years ago (or the originally planned $176 million).
To be fair, the NDP planned to cut funding to “family, social supports, and housing”, too. At least, according to the 2018–2019 budget.
Let’s compare the NDP’s 2018–2019 projections with the projections from the UCP November 2021 mid-year fiscal update. Keep in mind that all the numbers for the NDP are projections.
|2019–2020 actual||$172 million||$150 million|
|2020–2021 budget/actual||$78 million||$142 million|
|2021–2022 budget/actual||$34 million||$85 million|
|2022–2023 budget/forecast||$20 million||$98 million|
|$304 million||$472 million|
The NDP had no projections for the 2023–2024 budget year. When we compare the two, clearly, it looks like the UCP increased spending from what the NDP had planned.