Province poorer than you think

Southern Alberta is rightly preoccupied with impact of last month’s flood but the provincial government still has old business to attend to.

On that note the Alberta government has issued its annual 2012-13 annual report. Unlike the annual budget tabled in March the report consists of comments on current policy goals for the future and a more readable summary of the government’s financial performance.

The report claims the government’s short-term priorities are to remodel primary health care delivery create a co-ordinated education system and “tell the world of Alberta’s responsible energy development.” That is admittedly a challenge since the government’s third consecutive deficit budget last year already increased expenses by 4.7 per cent equaling total expenses of $41.4 billion.

Emergency assistance increased by $552 million last year primarily for hail and fire damage throughout Alberta. The province has already pledged $1 billion in disaster relief funding to cover the 2013 flood.

The annual report also reveals energy royalties were $294 million less than reported in the budget. And finally that the Alberta Sustainability Fund started out last year at $7.5 billion but unexpectedly shrank to $3.3 billion by the end of the fiscal year due the report states to lower-than-expected revenue and a higher deficit.