Alberta could be facing a $10.4 billion deficit in the next budget Alberta’s Finance Minister Joe Ceci announced on Wednesday.
“Our deficit could be as high as $5 billion more in the next fiscal year than what we expected in our October budget,” Ceci said. “That is simply the reality of our circumstances.”
Blame on the significant budget shortfall goes to the historically low oil prices – the lowest levels in more than a decade – causing a substantial hit to government revenue.
As of today, a deficit of $6.3 billion is expected for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
Alberta’s economy is expected to recover however, Ceci says, difficult times continue to lay ahead for the remainder of 2016.
Ceci adds, “This is a once-in-a-generation economic challenge. As such, we are committed more than ever to prudent fiscal management, creating jobs and diversifying the economy. This includes protecting services Albertans need, putting people back to work with an expanded infrastructure program, and promoting home-grown business and entrepreneurship.”
During the conference, Cecil emphasized that the government will avoid cutting essential services and front-line jobs such as those in hospitals and schools.
“We won’t respond to knee-jerk cuts to make a bad situation worse.”
Cecil said, in early April the government will deliver the 2016-17 budget.